FILE - Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Zamboni driver unlikely to spur NHL to change goalie rule

David Ayres became a sensation last month after leading the Hurricanes to an improbable victory

NHL general managers seem unlikely to suggest changes to the emergency backup goaltender policy, even after 42-year-old Zamboni driver David Ayres became one of the biggest stories of the season by winning a game for Carolina last month.

The issue was among the discussion points Monday, the first of three days of GM meetings, but the apparent consensus was that emergency goaltenders are called upon so rarely that any reaction now would likely feel like an overreaction.

“It’s such a rare occurrence,” Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “It’s only news because it recently happened.”

RELATED: Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Ayres became a sensation last month when he was called on by the Hurricanes in a game at Toronto after injuries to Carolina goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Ayres stopped eight shots and became the first emergency goalie in NHL history credited with a victory.

Under NHL rules, when a team’s two goalies are hurt or otherwise incapacitated the club “shall be entitled to dress and play any available goalkeeper who is eligible.” In Carolina’s case, that became Ayres, who often gets on the ice at Leafs practices when the team needs an extra goalie.

“We’re comfortable with the way that it is,” McCrimmon said.

Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said he originally wasn’t planning to watch that Carolina-Toronto game on TV, flipping to it only when word broke that a Zamboni driver was in net.

Like other GMs who spoke Monday, Cheveldayoff indicated he likes the rule as is.

“A lot of guys have played college or junior,” Cheveldayoff said. “Being in the market that we’re in, we have certainly an opportunity to have lots of players that fit that criteria. In some places, there are tryouts. … Fortunately in Winnipeg, we have a lot of former college players and the like.”

RELATED: Emergency goalie David Ayres helps Hurricanes pick up improbable win over Leafs

Florida general manager Dale Tallon has been through the emergency situation a couple of times in recent years — once with the team on the cusp of putting goaltender coach Robb Tallas into a game, another three years ago where a team account executive was summoned.

Neither got into the game. And while Tallon said he was nervous for Ayres on his big night, he also wasn’t inclined to call for change.

“The better team won that game. That’s the reality of that night,” Tallon said. “It happened to us three years ago. Three times it’s happened in 50 years. Do you change the whole thing? … I think we did a good job of fixing it and it turned out for the better.”

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

NHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Trail closes all sani-dumps

City is focusing on maintaining core services

Kiwanis, Ferraro Foods helping Trail seniors stay safe

Kiwanis rallies to provide Trail seniors grocery delivery service

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read