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Protective nets needed around arenas following hockey puck death: Quebec coroner

The accident occurred April 1, 2017, while Annie Alaku-Papigatuk was watching a hockey game in Salluit, a community in northern Nunavik.
The accident occurred April 1, 2017, while Annie Alaku-Papigatuk was watching a hockey game in Salluit, a community in northern Nunavik. File/Getty Images

The death of a 12-year-old girl after she was struck by a hockey puck has prompted a Quebec coroner to ask the province to study the possibility of installing protective nets in all arenas.

The accident occurred April 1, 2017, while Annie Alaku-Papigatuk was watching a hockey game in Salluit, a community in northern Nunavik.

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She was sitting in the second row around the middle of the rink where there was no protective net when a puck struck her in the head near her right eyebrow.

A report by coroner Steeve Poisson says the young girl started crying, but did not lose consciousness. The girl said she was OK and able to walk and an adult who was with her applied a snow-filled bag to her head.

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Alaku-Papigatuk was accompanied home where she later complained of a headache and started to vomit.

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The following morning, her father noticed she wasn’t breathing and took her to the local health centre where medical personnel tried unsuccessfully to revive her.

An autopsy later revealed Alaku-Papigatuk died as a result of the head injury caused by the puck.

Poisson says a protective net around the perimeter of the arena would probably have saved the girl’s life.

He has recommended that Quebec’s department of education, leisure and sport study the effectiveness of installing netting in all hockey arenas in Quebec.