GOALTENDER DAVID AYRES BRINGS MEMORIES OF CSL BACK-UP EMERGENCY
PICTURE: Announcer Enio Perruzza was once called upon to play for short-handed North York Astros in the CPSL
Backup goaltender David Ayres, a Zamboni driver and Canadian operations manager at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, became an overnight sensation when he took to the ice for the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period of an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on February 22.
The 42 year old Whitby, Ontario native was called upon after both Carolina goalies were injured and the occasion stirred memories of a similar substitute in the Canadian Soccer League by soccer announcer Enio Perruzza who was called upon to help North York Astros when the team was short-handed during an important Canadian Professional Soccer League (now the CSL) match on September 5, 1999, a holiday weekend.
Perruzza’s booming voice has become familiar to soccer fans in Ontario for 33 years since August 3,1986 when he first announced the players, match officials and everything of consequence at a Toronto Blizzard game. He has been the regular announcer for the CSL and other key games ever since.
The Italian-born occasional soccer player has also kept the fans informed through the PA system at well-attended games involving Benfica, Red Star Belgrade and the Italian military team as well as the odd international match, such as the Mexican under-20 side. Perruzza has also been assigned to18 Ontario Cup finals. He’s also called indoor soccer and has been invited over the years to provide colour commentary on television.
But he did not play soccer at the CSL level until entering the field that Sunday afternoon 20 years ago. The match ended in a 7-0 victory for the opposition Glen Shields Sun Devils, a contrast to the David Ayres experience of being part of the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 victory which resulted in Ayers being feted in Raleigh, North Carolina a few days later.
“They got me in on a 3-game temporary permit, but that was the only game I ever played in the CSL,” explained Perruzza when the Astros game two decades ago was remembered. “It was at Dufferin District Park in Thornhill and I remember Phil Ionadi scoring their last goal for the 7-0 win. It was a crazy experience for me but not the only time odd things have happened, I remember a game in 1988, the last game of the CSL season when 50,000 packages of La Molissana pasta were given away. It was a very late kickoff and was called ‘Midnight Madness’.”
PICTURE: Serbian White Eagles brought skilled players from Europe to launch an expansion team in the CSL in 2006, a side that played attractive football before large crowds, home and away. Dragoslav Sekularac (rear, third from right) one of Europe’s greats while playing for Red Star Belgrade 1955 – 1965 with 375 appearances and capped […]