Quebec boy, 11, dies after being hit in neck by puck during hockey practice

By Ehren Wynder

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- An 11-year old boy died Friday after days in intensive care for being struck in the neck with a hockey puck during a minor hockey league practice near Montreal, Quebec.

Saint-Eustache Police confirmed the boy died in intensive care Friday. The incident occurred Tuesday at the Walter-Buswell arena in Saint-Eustache, a suburb of Montreal. The injured boy was transferred to an intensive care unit at a Montreal hospital


Police determined the boy was hit by accident and was wearing all the required protective equipment at the time.

Saint-Eustache Mayor Pierre Charron in a statement offered his condolences to the family and called the incident an "unspeakable tragedy which afflicts our community."

"We are all in shock," he said. "Since Tuesday evening, all our energies have focused on the family and loved ones of this young man as well as the entire sporting community. We reiterate our support for the family and all those involved."

Jean-Phillippe Labréche, president of the Saint-Eustache Minor Hockey Association also expressed his condolences to the boy's family and "strongly" encouraged those effected by the event to seek psychological aid.

With the exception of tournament matches, the association canceled all games and practices until Monday, Labrèche said.


The city said it has mobilized its resources to support the minor hockey association and those close to the young player. Among other things, psychosocial support has been offered to those affected by the incident.

Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal epidemiologist and cardiologist said these types of injuries are not common, but can be life threatening. He added current neck protectors are designed to protect against slashes to the neck but don't offer any protection against blunt trauma.

The most recent incident in Saint-Eustache has raised concerns about the ineffectiveness of current neck protectors. Michael Raposo, a player for the Montreal Elite Nationals, told CityNews neck guards haven't changed in years while knee and elbow pads get bigger and more protective.

Trent McCleary, a former Montreal Canadiens player who had his career cut short in 2000 by a puck strike to the throat, told Victoria News he was not wearing a neck protector at the time of the incident, but he believed it wouldn't have mattered because a neck guard wouldn't have protected him from such a high-velocity strike.

"I don't believe that there's any neck protection that can protect from the impact," he said.

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