An Osoyoos Coyotes KIJHL player is recovering after he took a serious hit while playing against the Kelowna Chiefs in the Central Okanagan city on Friday night.
19-year-old right-winger Bryson Rody was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital.
“He suffered two soft tissue damage issues to his neck and upper spine… he also had a severe whiplash that he was diagnosed with as well,” said his father Vaughan Rody.
When reached for comment, head coach Mark Chase described the incident as a “predatory” hit.
“One of our players, #25 Bryson Rody, went into the corner to help support a play in the defensive zone while an individual from Kelowna came all the way from the blue line, so an entire zone, into the corner and with full force basically threw his body directly into Bryson Rody’s back,” Chase said on Sunday.
“Bryson was unassuming and with an inability to protect himself, so in my opinion, when I saw it it was highly predatory and the intent was to clearly injure this individual.”
Rody was thrown into the boards and collapsed on the ice. He told officials his neck and back were sore and his feet were tingling. Players from both teams left the ice and went to the dressing room while BC Ambulance was called.
“I was pretty upset to see the predatory nature but I’ve also coached hockey for a number of years and understand these guys,” Chase said. “As much as they want to consider themselves to be men, they’re still young boys.”.
It’s Rody’s first year playing junior hockey. Chase said the import player from Snohomish County, Washington is on one of the power play units and “to have him out is definitely significant.”
He was released from hospital at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.
There in an outpouring of support for Rody on social media and many fans are relieved the player is expected to recover.
Meanwhile, Chase said the Kelowna Chiefs player who caused the injury should face disciplinary action beyond the penalties he received during the game.
He said he’s sent the tape to BC Hockey officials for review, but is concerned by the $125 fee required for his superiors to review the incident.
“Here’s a player who is injured and you’re expecting us to pay you in order to look at it when we need to handle this immediately?” Chase said. “I’m a little bit frustrated that that’s the process.
Rody’s father, Vaughan, agreed the player in question should be suspended for the same amount of games his son is going to miss due to the injury.
“When we are involved in this game our main concern should be the safety of the players.” Vaughan also wanted to express gratitude for the support his son has received.
Rody is travelling home to Washington State to undergo an MRI and will see a spine specialist to ensure there are no underlying issues.
WATCH: Hockey Edmonton gets rid of body checking in house league (2016)
Grant Sheridan, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Chiefs, said the chief referee reviewed the body check and issued a penalty, but no further disciplinary action will be taken by the team. He said the player did not intend to injure Rody.
Sheridan said he contacted the injured player’s mother in the United States to keep her informed while her son was being treated.
“I was also on the ice with a nurse and Dr. so I can tell you there was a lot of ‘precautionary measures’ being taken for player safety,” he said in an email.
Global Okanagan has reached out to BC Hockey for comment.
The Chiefs issued this tweet after the incident:
“Nothing any player, coach, fan or especially parent ever likes to see no matter the game or teams. It’s not part of the game but it does happen.”