Feb 24, 2020 - Sports

Zamboni driver steps in as emergency goalie for NHL's Carolina Hurricanes

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

When both Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders left Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with injuries, Dave Ayres came in as the emergency backup — and stopped eight of 10 shots he faced to seal a 6-3 win for Carolina.

Why it matters: Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver and practice goalie, had watched the first period from the stands with his wife. Minutes later, he was skating onto the ice in a real NHL game.

How it works: NHL teams dress two goaltenders and typically would call on a minor league goalie due to injury or other emergency.

  • If logistics make that impossible, teams are allowed to dress and play any available goaltending option, which is why local goalies with ties to the team are often on call.
  • Emergency goalies are available to either team, which explains why Ayres suited up for the Hurricanes despite being working for the Leafs. (Can you imagine if this was a super important game and he was facing his own team?)

What they're saying: Ayres, whose own hockey career was derailed by a kidney transplant 15 years ago, was asked what he'll remember most from the game.

"These guys. How great they were to me. The crowd in Toronto was unreal. Even though I was on the other team, they were so receptive. Every time I made a save I could hear them cheering for me."
— Dave Ayres

The big picture: Ayres adds his name to a long and storied list of emergency NHL goalies — a list that includes an accountant, a police officer, a bank manager, a grad student, a statistician and a vending machine worker.

Go deeper: Coronavirus outbreak creates hockey stick shortage

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The 1980 U.S. hockey gold, 40 years later

Photo: Steve Powell/Getty Images

40 years ago today, the U.S. men's hockey team beat Finland 4-2 to clinch gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Backdrop: Two days earlier, the U.S. upset the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice," but that didn't guarantee a medal. In fact, if the U.S. had lost to Finland badly enough and Sweden tied the Soviets, the U.S. would have finished fourth.

Go deeperArrowFeb 24, 2020 - Sports

Baseball's uncertain future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

MLB has delayed Opening Day until mid-May at the earliest, per recommendations from the Center for Disease Control that gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.

Why it matters: Of all the major sports leagues, MLB faces arguably the most disastrous outcome from this unprecedented sports outage, and some of its minor league affiliates might not survive the summer.

Go deeperArrowMar 17, 2020 - Sports

Major sports leagues are easing up on marijuana

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization at an all-time high, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues are reducing restrictions and punishments — though the NBA lags behind the other three.

By the numbers: Recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is permitted in 33. 101 0f the 123 teams (82.1%) across the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL play in those states.

Go deeperArrowMar 4, 2020 - Sports