In the span of a week, David Ayres has gone from part-time Zamboni driver to getting his own hockey card as an NHL goaltender.
Upper Deck announced on Friday that Ayres, the 42-year-old emergency backup goalie who helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday night, is getting a special-release card through the company's Game Dated Moments program on e-Pack.
Ayres will also have a card in the Upper Deck Young Guns Update Rookie set that is scheduled to be released in mid-May.
The company said that since Ayres isn't a member of the National Hockey League Players' Association, Upper Deck had to cut a separate deal with him for the card licensing.
Ayres was the emergency backup goalie for both the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday night. He was forced into action for Carolina when goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer were both injured. Ayres made eight saves on 10 shots and became the first emergency netminder to earn a win in an NHL game.
The aftermath of his victory has led to an unlikely whirlwind. He has appeared on the "Today" show, SportsCenter and "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," he was honored at a Hurricanes home game, and he had his goalie stick placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"I haven't pinpointed one highlight yet," Ayres told NHL.com. "The reception from everybody on just how positive a story this has become is fantastic. I had four or five people stop me in the mall when I was in Carolina and just tell me how amazing they thought the story was. That was a highlight for me, where it's clear it's reached people and everyone is happy about it and it's a positive story for them."
It hasn't all been positive. Outrage in some hockey circles about his age, lack of experience and occupational ties to the Maple Leafs while playing for their opponent has led NHL general managers to reconsider the standards for emergency goalies at their meetings next week.