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Maple Leafs' AHL team signs Zamboni driver to serve as backup goalie

Saturday, December 5, 2015 10:42:00 AM America/Los_Angeles

The Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, had an odd goaltending duo in uniform for their game in Rochester on Friday night.

Getting the start was Jonathan Bernier, an NHL regular for the past five years recently sent to the AHL on a conditioning stint after a miserable start to the regular season for the Leafs.

Backing him up on the bench was Dave Ayres, a 38-year-old building operations manager who, according to the Canadian Press, occasionally serves on the ice crew and drives the Zamboni for Marlies home games.

The Marlies were in need of another goalie because their two regular goalies, Garrett Sparks and Antoine Bibeau, had been recently recalled to the NHL, while their ECHL goalie, Rob Madore, could not make it to Rochester from Orlando in time for the game.

Sparks was recently given an opportunity with the big club mostly due to Bernier's struggles, while Bibeau had to be recalled Friday because James Reimer, the Leafs' starter, is listed as day-to-day with an injury.

Put it all together, and you're pretty much forced to pull people out of the stands.

Ayres didn't get a chance to play for the Marlies on Friday night and could only watch as Bernier stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 win.

After the game the Marlies annouced that Ayres was released from his tryout.

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