By Nia Harden, WRAL reporter
Raleigh, N.C. — It’s like a Cinderella story. Average Zamboni driver David Ayres was pulled from the crowd as an emergency goalie after two Carolina Hurricanes goalies were injured during Saturday night’s game. After giving up two goals, he suddenly changed pace in the third period, ultimately stopping eight out of ten shots, leading the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory.
Now, Raleigh plans to give Ayres a hero’s welcome when he travels to Raleigh with the Carolina Hurricanes and visits PNC Arena for Tuesday’s game. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin wants to honor the unexpected hero by formally declaring Tuesday as David Ayres Day.
Ayres has surged into stardom in Raleigh. Even Governor Roy Cooper is eager to name the emergency goaltender an honorary North Carolina citizen.
Ayres will sound the siren before the start of Tuesday’s game. There are even Carolina Hurricanes T-shirts now being sold with the zamboni driver’s number.
After stepping in as an emergency goalie against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ayres said, “It took me a while to get out of the rink. I finally went home and just relaxed. Actually, not much relaxing. Answering so many text messages and phone calls from a lot of my family and friends.”
His wife has sent tweets about the 6-3 victory saying, “Thank you everyone for such tremendous love and support.”
Ayres will be on the TODAY show prior to his visit to North Carolina.