By writer to www.sportsnet.ca
TORONTO – One 12 months after the miracle, David Ayres’s telephone remains to be buzzing with emergencies he wants to resolve. They’re just a bit much less glamourous than springing from the stands to the crease and securing an NHL victory in opposition to the very group that employed him.
Carrying a Marlies T-shirt throughout our Zoom name, Ayres describes the wildest 12 months of his life as “nonstop.”
Along with satisfying the countless requests (from Colbert to Corden, Disney to Dangle) that include being an abnormal man who completed the extraordinary, Ayres’s new day job retains him concerned with the sport, albeit at a distance.
Leaving his Zamboni and EBUG life behind, Ayres, 43, now oversees the Toronto district for CIMCO, Canada’s largest industrial refrigeration contractor.
“It’s fairly busy,” Ayres says. “I’ve to schedule all the upkeep for our mechanics to exit to the indoor and out of doors rinks. Any massive elements that want altering, it is all my job.”
Ayres damage his knee tending objective for professionals coaching in Oakville and Oshawa through the low season, and his gear — hanging in a stall behind him throughout our Zoom — has been dry for months.
“I went too laborious too quickly. My knee didn’t prefer it. Getting outdated sucks, man,” Ayres says. However even when he complains, he smiles. Life is nice.
“We have now a gymnasium within the storage. (My spouse) Sarah and I’m going work out virtually each single night time. It would not matter. Nothing is similar as taking part in hockey, proper? You are able to do no matter you need, however as quickly as you get on the market and begin doing butterflies and attempting to do splits, that is when your physique’s like, ‘Uh, nah,’ we’re not doing this anymore.”
Not that there’s something left for Ayres to perform. He’s seen the view from the highest of the mountain, tasted the sweetest Gatorade.
We caught up with Ayres to debate his forthcoming biopic, his charity work, and the way life has modified one 12 months since Feb. 22, 2020, when a 42-year-old practice goalie shut the door, made historical past and helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.
This interview was edited for size and readability.
Sportsnet: Did you watch the Leafs recreation (Monday) night time? Are you conscious of the blown 5-1 lead? Your identify was trending once more.
David Ayres: I watched till it was 3-1 or one thing like that. Subsequent factor you understand, everyone’s chirping the Leafs as a result of they misplaced. I noticed one man say one thing like, “That is worse than shedding to the Zamboni man.” They’re going to make use of me (because the benchmark). Each time the Leafs lose badly, they’re gonna say one thing like that.
How typically are you reminded of Feb. 22, 2020?
Oh, someone sends me one thing each single day. I am not even joking. Between Sarah or I, we’ve had a request for one thing each single day of the 12 months. Like, a podcast or an interview or one thing each day for the final 12 months. There’s been actually good ones and a few you simply cannot do. It’s a must to choose and select.
Do you ever tire of rehashing the story, or is it enjoyable to maintain reliving this dream come true?
It depends upon the questions you are requested. Generally it is a super-generic interview, the place all of the questions I’ve answered 1,000,000 occasions. Some include completely different angles, just like the kidney transplant angle. I typically get, “How did it really feel when the primary shot went in?” It is like, “Effectively, that sucks.” The worst factor I’ve had to date is… As a result of I signed a film take care of Disney, I had a bunch of the producers and writers on Zoom calls. A number of the stuff that the non-hockey guys ask you, it is similar to, “You are working for Disney, man. It’s best to’ve accomplished your analysis somewhat bit for that one.” (chuckles) For probably the most half, they’re nice. It was a terrific night time for me, so why would I not be excited to speak about it?
The Disney deal: How shortly did it come about? And what is the timeline for the film to hit screens?
Once we had been in Carolina, I bought a name from James Corden. He simply needed to say congrats. He heard about my story, thought it superior. He let me know he had a manufacturing firm. No stress: “If you happen to ever desire a film, let me know.” Then I attached with CAA (Artistic Artists Company). They stated to me, “You would not imagine the quantity of manufacturing corporations which have come to us already asking to do that movie. It’s insane.” They narrowed it right down to 24 at one level, after which we narrowed it right down to 12. We listened to 12 pitches from all of the completely different individuals. I nonetheless went again to James Corden to speak to him thrice. He needed me to be within the film: “You’d be a producer and be a part of it from begin to end, with the writing and every little thing.” That is kinda cool, him wanting me to inform the story and put somewhat spin on it. I suppose his neighbour was a man who works excessive up in Disney, they usually went for a stroll one night time. That is how the entire Disney factor took place. So, we’ll see what occurs. A bit gradual now with COVID, however as soon as we get the ball rolling, it’ll be superb. As soon as we begin writing it, I believe they’re going to go two years from there.
Very cool. Who can be your dream David Ayres casting?
I do not assume I’ve really picked one particular person, however names of actors among the manufacturing corporations threw out had been like Mark Wahlberg or Ryan Reynolds. One other producer picked Chris Pratt, and he stated, “I do not like hockey.” I am fairly positive it was him. (laughs) Whoever it’s, I am positive they’re going to be nice. I’ll get to fulfill him, hang around and do the entire thing collectively. It’ll be enjoyable.
Does it really feel like a full 12 months has handed since your win?
I take a look at my tools — I’ve a pair stalls right here — and it appears like perpetually since I really put it on for that recreation. You get a whole lot of footage and stuff coming in, or artwork that individuals have made. It’s like, wow, that was so way back.
What number of occasions have you ever gone again and watched the sport?
I’ve watched it one time on the Hockey Evening in Canada broadcast and one time on the Carolina broadcast. That was it. From a goalie standpoint, my approach was horrible. After I bought two targets scored on me, I simply stayed again in my internet. I did not wish to hand over an excessive amount of, so I simply stood my floor. The approach wasn’t the best. If I had an opportunity to do it once more, I believe I’d be somewhat bit extra free. I felt like I used to be a robotic on the market. That is why I do not actually like to observe it. And after I do interviews and stuff like that, I do not watch these both. I do not actually like to listen to my very own voice.
I am the very same means, minus the NHL hero half.
Sarah will sit beside me and play some clip. As quickly as I hear my voice, I’m like, “Flip it off, flip it off! I do not wish to hear it.” I’ll perhaps go into the opposite room if she needs to hear.
Did the EBUG expertise change the way you view life?
Sure and no. The largest half for me was having a kidney transplant 16 or so years in the past. After I had that, I did not assume I’d have the ability to play sports activities in any respect. I had no concept what I used to be gonna have the ability to do. So having the ability to attain that stage, there was a whole lot of luck concerned in (changing into a observe goalie) for the Marlies group. However there is a ton of laborious work I’ve put in during the last eight seasons with them. It simply lets you understand, something you attempt in life, you’ll be able to obtain it. You set a whole lot of laborious work and get a pair fortunate bounces right here and there, and issues will go your means — so long as you keep optimistic. That is the one massive factor I took away from every little thing: Simply keep optimistic. Does not matter how outdated you might be. It issues how laborious you’re employed, whether or not it is taking part in sports activities or doing all of your each day job. You set the trouble into it, you may get outcomes.
How have you ever leveraged your accomplishment to lift cash for the Kidney Basis?
I did the emergency fund (with the Kidney Basis) in April. We raised over $100,000 in three or 4 weeks. I did a bunch of stuff for the American Kidney Basis, and we’re capable of elevate cash for that as properly. If it wasn’t for me having a kidney transplant, I by no means would’ve bought to do that stuff. I do know there is a bunch of folks that have went to the Kidney Basis since they’ve heard my story and stated, “Hey, I did not know you guys did this.” They usually’ve been in a position to make use of the Kidney Basis as a help system, in order that’s been superior for me.
Describe your relationship like with the Hurricanes.
I discuss to guys that work for the group virtually each day, actually. I made a whole lot of associates after I was down there. They ask how issues are going. I really simply bought a package deal from them right now — extra Canes swag. It is kinda cool. They need me to do a video for the 22nd, so that they despatched me extra swag, which is superior. They’re such a very good group and actually right down to earth. Actually enjoyable guys. I keep up a correspondence with them.
What stands proud from the aftermath of your victory, the celebration tour?
Going to New York Metropolis. I might by no means been to New York Metropolis. After I went down there, I did a whole lot of actually cool exhibits — Stephen Colbert, Right this moment Present, Fox, all that stuff. It occurs so quick, you do not even bear in mind it. Then I went to Carolina, then Saskatoon, after which went to Montreal. You do not get an opportunity to soak all of it in till afterwards. And you then get to realizing, I bought to do some fairly cool issues. I bought to fulfill some actually cool individuals. And there is lots of people that come up and say, “Your story is superior.” You set a smile on their face. That was the very best factor during the last 12 months — the truth that individuals will let you know the place they had been after they watched the sport, the truth that they had been rooting for the Leafs however then as soon as Carolina began profitable, they had been rooting for me to win. So, it introduced somewhat little bit of pleasure to individuals. And others, not a lot pleasure, I suppose. (laughs)
I bear in mind coming into the guests’ room as you had been taking off your gear postgame. You had been carrying a Leafs T-shirt beneath your Hurricanes sweater. And also you stated you’d be heading again to Ford Efficiency Centre the following morning to work out with the Leafs.
If it wasn’t for the Leafs group, I by no means would’ve been capable of do the emergency goalie factor. Kyle (Dubas) and Sheldon (Keefe) and people guys introduced me alongside. I spent so a few years practising with the Marlies, then they introduced me as much as Leafs. I put on that Leafs shirt below my gear on a regular basis. Going again to observe the following day, the fellows had been giving me hugs, saying, “That’s so superior. Good for you.” They had been happy with me. They know I’m going dwelling with bumps and bruises each day. It’s not enjoyable. You get pucks within the head all day lengthy. Not their fault. They’re ripping pucks on the internet, and also you’re within the internet. They’re nonetheless nice to me.
Protected to say you continue to cheer for the Leafs, then?
I bought to know them on a good friend stage. I’m at all times gonna root for them. I used to be by no means an enormous Leaf fan rising up, however when you’re a part of a company, you make associates. You are gonna root to your buddies. They work so laborious, they usually have an superior group. They’re gonna rip it up once more.
What did you retain from that night time?
Oh! I’ve my jersey nonetheless. Rod Brind’Amour gave me a signed bottle. James Reimer gave me a signed stick. I nonetheless have all that. Clearly, my stick went to the Hockey Corridor of Fame, which was fairly cool. I could not say no to that one.
OK. The Hurricanes and Maple Leafs meet this spring within the playoffs — who’re you rooting for?
Put me on the spot with this one. (laughs) I root for a very good hockey recreation, I suppose. I’ve associates on each side; it’s so laborious to choose one. I’d like to see the Leafs win a Cup as a result of they haven’t accomplished it in so lengthy. I’d like to see the parade they’d placed on. Carolina gained one (in 2006), so I’d prefer to see the Leafs win one. That’s for positive.
How have you ever been dealing with the pandemic?
It sucks. However it provides me time to do tasks round the home. I’ve constructed a lot furnishings this complete time we’ve been at dwelling. I have been understanding and spending time with household and located a brand new love for Name of Responsibility.
How are your abilities?
Not unhealthy, really. My buddies play the odd time. My mother moved in with us just lately, and he or she’s like, “You play this all day lengthy, do not you?” You recognize, if there’s nothing else to do. If I am not working or no matter, then, positive, I am going to bounce on and play. However it will get somewhat an excessive amount of for the children and Sarah too. Like, “Simply flip it off.” I am all proper. I am fairly good.
So, do you intend on celebrating the one-year anniversary Monday? Will you elevate a glass to this?
Completely. Individuals have been asking what we’re gonna do with that wine Rod gave me. I’m not a giant wine drinker. Sarah will most likely take a sip of it. We are able to’t go too far, however we’ll most likely have somewhat little bit of a celebration. We’ll do one thing, for positive.
— to www.sportsnet.ca