Savings in the works: catching up with David Ayres

RALEIGH, NC – The ovation brought by the crowd inside the PNC Arena on Monday night as the siren sounded to start the Canes game against the Maple Leafs seemed worthy of a star who had played more than a thousand games for the organization.

Instead, it was for an individual who only played 28:41 of total NHL time.

It is safe to say the love and appreciation of David Ayres, who rose to fame for his iconic status. when he slipped into the Carolina Hurricanes crease in emergency circumstances on February 22, 2020, was not lost on the fan base. The feelings are mutual, as the happiness Ayres felt to be back in Raleigh was evident.

In town for a few days with his wife Sarah, this is the third return to North Carolina for the now 44 years old. The Whitby, Ont., Native arrived in town shortly after his memorable night at Scotiabank Arena and then again in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: CAR @ TOR: David Ayres comes on as emergency goalkeeper

“Every time we go down to Raleigh I remember more and more details about that night,” Ayres said. “I love coming here. It’s always fun for us and the people are wonderful.”

Naturally a whirlwind of emotions, from an on-call training goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization to being adopted as a darling by the Canes fan base, North Carolina continued to take on a new meaning to him.

It was here at The Cheesecake Factory in Raleigh, to be precise, that life changed again for Ayres. Wearing one of her earphones as Sarah wore the other, the two had a phone conversation for about 45 minutes with someone who had received her number through a member of Canes staff.

That person?

Popular television host, actor, comedian, writer and producer James Corden.

Why was he calling Ayres?

To congratulate him at first. However, the conversation briefly ended with an interest in a film’s potential production.

“It was surreal because our kids love it,” he said of the discussion. “Our daughter thinks he’s incredibly hysterical and when I got home and said to her, she said ‘Like, the real James Corden?’ She was super excited about it. “

After receiving numerous arguments from companies interested in bringing the film to life, the decision was finally made to go with Corden’s team. Corden’s production company will be responsible for producing the image, which will become a feature film for Disney. Since the first phone call between the two, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the film’s timeline plans, but now efforts are back on track with Ayres ready to spend time with one of the writers over the course of the years. next two weeks.

Tabled to also be the film’s producer, Ayres might be more excited about the potential opportunity to star himself in some of the production’s ice scenes.

“I’m more of a hockey guy [than a movie guy], so I’d rather go out, put on my gear and get a puck out of my head, ”he laughed. “It will be wild and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun to do. “

Video: DAL @ CAR: David Ayres sounds the storm siren in Raleigh

As the film process continues to materialize, Ayres is not lost in the hype of having a film based around him, as many would be. Quick to point out some of the other significant undertakings in his life, his well-documented relationship with The Kidney Foundation of Canada and being an organ donation advocate also received a plethora of light through his winning performance. Having received a kidney transplant himself, he is always happy to register for assistance when someone has a question.

“I have received countless messages from people contacting me and letting me know that they are having dialysis or need a kidney and are not sure what to expect. When I had my transplant I heard about The Canadian Kidney. Foundation, but I didn’t know how much they could help people. Not just the patients either, but the family as well. “

An obviously important cause that is dear to him and dear to him, Ayres has provided several examples of hope for many battles that are similar to him. At an autograph session in Saskatchewan, he met a woman who had driven over three hours just to say thank you for the awareness he was providing.

“All she wanted was to meet me and say thank you, and I was really touched by that,” he said of the reunion. “I just gave her a big hug and told her everything was going to get better now. It’s those kinds of things that bring me joy. All the messages I get and have a platform where I can help people or bring a smile to their face, that’s what I love. I will always be there for anyone who needs help. “

Ayres concluded her touching sentiment with encouragement to everyone to make sure they are an organ donor if possible. Sarah and David now work closely with the family of Logan Boulet, one of the players tragically killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. The family, who launched Green Shirt Day, on April 7, did so to raise awareness about organ donation. Four weeks before the accident that cut the lives of Boulet and 15 others short, Logan signed up as an organ donor and in turn saved the lives of six others.

“In Canada, not many people sign their donor cards. If you can get someone to sign and potentially save up to six lives, that’s huge. If something happens to you, but you can still play a role. important in saving someone else’s life and that’s huge for me. “

So while the eight saves Ayres made in February 2020 created this magical story and gave Canes fans something to celebrate, the saves he has contributed to since are perhaps even more festive.

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