The worst hockey injury of all time occurred in the stands. Brittanie Cecil was only 13 years old when a puck deflected upward in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. It struck her in the left temple while watching a game that her father got her tickets to as an early birthday present. The incident caused all rinks to add mandatory netting behind both goals.
Here are some of the other worst hockey injuries of all time.
#1. Bill Masterton
Masterton took a hit from Ron Harris and Larry Cahan during a sequence on the ice, which caused him to fall backward and hit his head on the surface. He never fully regained consciousness after the hit. He would die 30 hours later at the hospital, with some accounts saying he was awake enough to say, “Never again. Never again.” His name is now on the trophy which awards sportsmanship and perseverance.
#2. Clint Malarchuk
Malarchuk got tangled up with Steve Tuttle of the St. Louis Blues in front of the net. Then both men fell on top of the keeper. One of the skates nicked Malarchuk’s jugular vein and severed the carotid artery. After emergency surgery, he would return to the ice just 10 days later. After retiring, Malarchuk admitted that he also survived a suicide attempt due to the PTSD he suffered from this incident.
#3. Steve Moore
Moore had his career ended in 2004 when Todd Bertuzzi grabbed him from behind, threw a sucker punch, and then drove him into the ice. He stayed there for 10 minutes before being stretchered off with a concussion and three broken vertebrae. Bertuzzi was charged with criminal assault for his actions during the game, which resulted in a guilty plea. Both sides reached an agreement in a civil suit in 2014 to settle the matter.
#4. Bryan Berard
Berard took a stick to his right eye from Marian Hossa in 2000. It caused him to drop to the ice immediately, with blood pooling out of his face. The orbital bone had been fractured, his cornea cut, and the retina detached. It took 7 operations to save the eye. Doctors gave him a special lens to wear during games that allowed him to continue with his career.
#5. Howie Morenz
It was a 1937 game between the Canadiens and the Black Hawks where Morenz lost his balance. He fell to the ice, then crashed leg-first into the boards. His left skate caught in the slide as well, with pursuing defender Earl Seibert then landing on top of him. The injury would fracture his leg in four places, ending Morenz’s career.
#6. Ted Green
It was an exhibition game where Wayne Maki and Green began swinging their sticks at each other. Maki caught him in the head, which caused a fractured skull and left Green temporarily paralyzed. Green would return the next year with a metal plate in his head, leading his team to a Stanley Cup win in 1972.
There have been many other brutal injuries suffered during hockey games. What are the worst ones that you feel should have made this list?