ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades announced on Wednesday that the organization is seeking to sign David Ayres — the emergency backup goaltender who guided the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday — as the team’s emergency Zamboni driver ahead of this weekend’s two home games.
“This time of year is especially tough on ECHL teams with the NHL and AHL trade deadlines, and the last thing we need to worry about is having to find a Zamboni driver on the day of a game while we’re trying to sign players on short notice,” said Craig Brush, the Everblades President and General Manager.
In the wake of the NHL trade deadline on Monday, the Everblades have already had four players reassigned or loaned to AHL clubs over the last two days, including goaltender Ken Appleby, who is tied for the ECHL lead in wins with 25.
“We can’t make any promises to David that this position could translate into a chance to see game time as it did for him on Saturday in Toronto,” Everblades head coach Brad Ralph added. “However, with the Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers, in town on Friday, we aren’t opposed to using him to take down a Maple Leafs organization for the second time in a week if the opportunity presents itself.”
After both of Carolina’s goaltenders left the game against Toronto on Saturday, the 42-year-old Ayres came into the game in the second period as the designated emergency backup goalie. He emerged with the win after stopping eight of the 10 shots he faced.
“At this point, signing David is a precautionary measure,” Brush said. “But you never know who might receive a call-up this time of year, and we want to be proactive about having someone to resurface the ice if we lose the guy we currently have under contract.”
Details of the offer to Ayres were not disclosed by the Everblades executive staff at the time of this release, though an unnamed alligator, who resembled the Everblades' mascot, did confirm that at least several rounds of golf on various high-end Southwest Florida courses were included.
The Everblades start a stretch of three games in three days with a Friday matchup against Newfoundland at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL's Milwaukee Admirals