Two Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey players and one former player remained in hospital Tuesday with various burn-related injuries after they were seriously hurt in a campfire near Calgary on Friday.
Player Ryan Vandervlis, 20, is in a medically induced coma with burns to the front of his body, Hurricanes GM Peter Anholt said Tuesday.
Vandervlis is showing signs of progress, Anholt said, having being taken off dialysis on Monday.
Alumnus Matt Alfaro, 21, and player Jordy Bellerive, 19, suffered burns to their upper bodies and are “continuing to make progress and steps towards full recovery,” Anholt said.
“Both Matt Alfaro and Jordy Bellerive have continued to make great strides over the last couple days. Their personalities have continued to come out.”
“I’ve been fortunate to be there for three days, off and on,” Anholt said. “The first day was tough. I was really pleased — over the next following two days — with Alfaro and Bellerive. I haven’t seen Ryan Vandervlis yet. I’ve certainly had lots of discussion with the Vandervlis family.”
The men were injured while a campfire was being started at a party at fellow player Tyler Wong’s house. They had a day of golf and camping planned for Saturday. Anholt said the trio was sitting on a bench together when the incident happened.
RCMP said Sunday the men were injured when “a substance was placed into a fire pit that caused an explosion.” On Monday, RCMP said alcohol was being consumed at the party but they do not believe it was a factor in the explosion.
Watch below: Lethbridge Hurricanes GM Peter Anholt speaks about the campfire that injured two players and one former player
Anholt has also been in contact with the Wong family and said they’re also struggling with the incident.
“They care for the boys, and that’s all the boys. They’ve been a part of the Hurricane family for a long, long time and continue to be. They’ve got lots of support and they’re struggling, like everybody, with this.”
Vandervlis is not seeing visitors, Anholt said, while the other two men are able to visit with family and close friends. Anholt said the support for the organization over the past three days has been incredible.
“That’s one thing that we see about the hockey business in general — how people, former teammates, staff, fans — everybody rallies. You can really see how the passion and the care for the boys and their families and billet families – it extends right through. It’s been amazing to be around over the last three days and see how it galvanizes the hockey community in a lot of ways.”
Anyone who wants to send cards to the men can drop them off at the Hurricanes office and they will be delivered to the hospital. Anholt said counselling and support will be made available to anyone who needs it.