An emergency NHL goaltender who made headlines across the country after backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes to a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs is coming to Saskatchewan.
Ayres was called into duty on Feb. 22 after the Canes lost netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek to injury.
That forced Ayres — a 42-year-old ex-junior goalie and a Zamboni driver for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, available to both teams — into action.
He let in the first two shots he faced before stopping the next eight that came his way to pick up the win — and first-star honours.
The Blades said they are bringing Ayres to Saskatoon as part of WHL Suits Up to Promote Organ Donation.
The WHL said the event supports the Kidney Foundation and pays tribute to the Logan Boulet effect.
Boulet was one of 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
He was inspired by a coach to sign his organ donor card and his heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and corneas were donated, saving or improving the lives of six people across Canada.
Ayres was 27 when he received a kidney transplant from his mother in 2004.
“The Western Hockey League is very proud to continue working alongside our longstanding partner Re/Max of Western Canada to help generate further support for the Kidney Foundation,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison said in January.
Ayres will perform the ceremonial puck drop and be available to sign autographs and meet with fans.
Special themed jerseys will be worn by players and auctioned off after the game.