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David Ayres: Sports Memory Made Possible by His Mom Donating Her Kidney

Photo from Getty Images

As we celebrate Mother’s day across the land, most have many reasons why they can be thankful for their moms. For all of the things they have done for us, we honor these deserved women, including those aunts, grandmothers, friends, and neighbors who were moms to us all. But there is one mom who has a son that recently made a huge splash in the sports world, and one of the things she did for her son to make it possible was to give him one of her kidneys.

Some of you may remember David Ayres, who is best known for playing in an NHL game on February 22, 2020, for the Carolina Hurricanes as an emergency backup goaltender (commonly referred to as an EBUG), beating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6–3, and becoming the first emergency goaltender to record a win in NHL history. But he would not have been able to do that, let alone much else unless his mother Mary donated a kidney for a transplant back in 2004.

Ayres and his mother appeared on the NHL show #HockeyatHome, in an episode that featured the mom’s of NHL players, and what they have done to help their children on their path to pro hockey. His mother has been very proud of what he has done with his newfound fame. “It has been absolutely amazing to see how well he has done with things like that,” she said. “taking moments like this and turning it into something wonderful.”  With his newly acquired notoriety, Ayres has teamed up with the Kidney Foundation of Canada to create an emergency fund to assist Kidney patients.

While Ayres had played hockey before, his career as a player was mostly finished after the transplant. He worked as a building operator at Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, which is the home arena for the Toronto Marlies and was asked to be a practice goaltender and had done so for the Marlies and the Maple Leafs. Then, On February 22, both of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltenders, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured during a game against the Maple Leafs. Ayres entered the game during the second period and held up well enough to lead the Hurricanes to victory, thus becoming a sports sensation overnight.

No one was more surprised then his mother when she received a message that her son was going to appear in an NHL game. “I was in shock,” she stated. “I did not know what to say, what to do!” David was very happy mom was able to watch stating that “My mom and I have been super close and it was great for her to see that and to see how cool it was for her.”

You can catch the entire interview as well as interview the Strome and Hughes family on the NHL digital platforms. The re-broadcast of the game that Ayres played in can be found on NHL.TV.



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