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Hockey Fan Becomes Hockey Star by Answering the Call

David Ayres was just sitting in the stands with his wife, enjoying a hockey game, when he saw the goalie go down. At 42 years old, and 15 years removed from a kidney transplant, his dreams of playing professional hockey were long gone. The closest he came to professional ice was driving the Zamboni on the practice rink and serving as an on-call emergency goaltender, in the extremely rare event that both goalies were injured during the game. Usually, that just means a free ticket to the game and dinner for David and his wife.

After the first goalie went down, David left his seat to get half-dressed in his hockey gear. Then his phone started blowing up with text messages: another collision had occurred and the backup goalie was injured too. It was David’s turn to step into the spotlight. He said later, “I’ve been on this ice many times without fans. Put fans in the mix and it’s a whole different game, obviously. But hey, once in a lifetime, I’ll take it.”

Things didn’t start well when the first two shots he faced went right into the back of the net, but a teammate encouraged him: “Just have fun. We don’t care if you let ten goals in.” David said that was a turning point. He stopped the next eight shots to secure the win. The Hurricanes’ coach said, “He just gave us an incredible memory.” David goes down in history as the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his debut. David said, “I’d love to see somebody else in the league get the same opportunity. So would every fan.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Jesus says to his followers, "Be ready for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44). It's not our job to know how the Lord is going to use us, but it is our job to be ready at all times to answer his call. He doesn't ask you to be the right age or have the right skills, but simply to be ready to serve. He'll take care of the rest.


Emily Kaplan, “Zamboni driver, 42, stars as emergency goalie for Hurricanes” ESPN (2-22-20); Helene Elliott, “David Ayres achieves the dream thanks to one of hockey’s quirks,” The LA Times (2-29-20)

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