NHL general managers decided not to propose changes to the existing procedures for the use of emergency backup goaltenders, a practice that came into question when 42-year-old David Ayres had to step in and play for the Carolina Hurricanes when their two goalies were injured at Toronto on Feb. 22.
Ayres, who drives the ice resurfacing machine at the Maple Leafs’ practice rink, stopped eight of 10 shots to earn the win for Carolina. He promptly became a sought-after guest on major TV talk shows in the United States, a rarity for hockey, and the stick he used in the Hurricanes’ 6-3 win was put on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
General managers discussed possible changes on Monday during their annual meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., but they decided to leave the current procedures unchanged. “There was lot of discussions,” Colin Campbell, the league’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, told NHL.com. “Most important from it is where we’re at and I think it worked.”
The procedure is rarely used and hadn’t been invoked since Scott Foster, an accountant, played 14 minutes for the Chicago Blackhawks on March 30, 2018.
At each game the home team makes available an emergency backup who can step in if needed. Some teams have two emergency backups on hand, one for the home team and one for the visitors.