From Health Crises To NHL King For A Day
Mar 15, 2020Posted by james

Did you hear about David Ayres? If you don’t follow hockey, you may have missed this wonderful moment, the most magical night of David’s life.

More than 15 years ago, David was an aspiring NHL goalie. A few weeks ago, at the age of 42, he finally played in a game. He was the winning goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 6-3 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. David, though, was not on the Carolina roster at the start of the game.

David works a regular job, coaches kids and suits up as Toronto’s practice goalie. He also drives the Zamboni at the Toronto arena and he serves as the game-day emergency backup goalie. When both goalies on a team leave a game, the emergency backup at each NHL arena quickly signs a contract for $500, suits up and gets on the ice. He could play for the home team or the visiting team. He could play for one shift or the remainder of the game.

The starting Carolina goalie on this night left at 6:10 of the first period with a lower-body injury. His replacement was body checked and left the game with 28:41 remaining in the game. Enter David, who made eight saves on 10 shots, recorded a shot on goal that appeared on the score sheet and then was credited with the win.

The Hurricanes players entered their locker room laughing, cheering loudly and chanting “Dave! Dave! Dave!” Their winning goalie was the last to leave the ice and then he was stopped halfway up the tunnel. David had to return to the ice, because he was named the first star of the game.

When David finally got to the locker room, he was doused by sprays of water by his new teammates. In the Toronto locker room, the Maple Leafs coach was unhappy with the loss but he felt good for David. The Toronto coach once had been David’s minor league coach.

While playing in the minors, David had faced a very serious medical issue. He underwent a kidney transplant with his mother as his donor. David’s career became secondary as he just was pleased to be alive.

Following David’s NHL debut, the Hurricanes announced a donation would be made to a kidney foundation to honor their goalie. His game-used goalie stick immediately appeared in the hockey hall of fame. The governor of North Carolina announced that David now was an honorary member of the state. David also made the rounds on television in Canada and the U.S.

“What a moment for him that he can have the rest of his life,” Hurricanes coach and former NHL star Rod Brind’Amour told his team and the media. “That’s incredible. That’s why you do this.”

David left the arena that night carrying a case of beer and his game-worn Hurricanes No. 90 jersey. He said he is going to look at that jersey every day.

Smart As A Fox
Mar 03, 2020Posted by james

Adam Fox is from Jericho right here on Long Island. He is playing professional hockey for his favorite team. Sorry, Islanders fans—he’s an emerging star for the New York Rangers.

Adam is a Harvard University graduate who was drafted by the Calgary Flames and then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes organization. He became Rangers property almost a year ago.

Adam has been listed by scouts as a stud player with fantastic offensive ability. He passes the puck quickly and moves well in all zones of the ice. His defense originally may have been labeled as “unknown” or “developing,” but during his first NHL season he has positioned himself as an anchor on the Rangers blueline. Adam also maintains a high IQ on the ice. He understands game situations, he reads plays well as each unfolds in front of him and he quickly makes necessary adjustments on the ice.

The hockey journey for Adam since he first put on his skates on Long Island has provided him with success at every level. His achievements include:

  • 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships gold medal with Team USA, recording four points in seven games.
  • 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships bronze medal with Team USA, leading the defense in assists and points as alternate captain.
  • At Harvard, became the only defenseman in college hockey to average more than a point-and-a-half per game. Led Harvard to the NCAA Tournament on several occasions.
  • Finalist for the Hobey Baker Award that is presented to the best college hockey player.

According to former Rangers defenseman Dave Maloney, Adam has the potential to become a major factor on the backline for New York for many years. “…it’s going to be his ability,” said Dave, “to have the sense of where he needs to be and how he needs to get there [that is going to help him succeed].”