A local hockey player for the St. Vital Victorias was badly hurt during an Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League Thursday.
Midway through the first period of Thursday night’s MMJHL game at St. Vital Arena, a member of the host Victorias suffered a severe injury when he and an opponent from the Raiders Junior Hockey club collided and went head-first into the boards.
The Victorias player was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to hospital, where he remains under observation.
MMJHL president Kerry Lines and St. Vital team president Dwayne Joseph both confirmed to 680 CJOB that the play was perfectly legal, but said no details of the player’s name, or the extent of his injury, will be revealed for the time being out of respect to family, friends, and teammates.
A similar incident occurred just over four years ago in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League when Portage defenceman Braden Pettinger went head-first into the boards — also as a result of a seemingly harmless play — during a game against the Winnipeg Blues at the then-MTS IcePlex.
MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said looking back on that situation, there were some valuable lessons learned.
“You have to be mindful of the one individual that has been injured, and the wishes of his family to deal with this incident now, in the way that they wish to. You have to be respectful of that,” Davis told 680 CJOB.
“In reference to the circumstance that happened in our league — the broader community of hockey, including ourselves, whatever support we can provide, we will.
“We’d certainly like to express that in the strongest of terms.”
Hockey Manitoba will be a resource for the injured player and his family in going forward, said Executive Director Peter Woods.
A handbook is available on the Hockey Manitoba website identified as “Safety For All” and it outlines the various policies involved, he said.
“Whether it’s a basic injury, or something more severe, individuals have to file with Hockey Manitoba to up the insurance claim to see if there is availability and support in these particular areas,” said Wood.
“Additional resources are provided for the more severe injuries and there could be grief counselling involved to the players, coaching staffs, officials, or anyone directly involved.”
Woods said he can only recall a handful of “severe injury” situations in the 18 years he has been at the helm of Hockey Manitoba.
“One is too many,” he said. “Several are far too many.”