St Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester on Tuesday night collapsed on the bench during a break in play in the first period, prompting the Blues and Anaheim Ducks to postpone their game.
Bouwmeester appeared to be awake and alert as he was being transported out of the arena to a hospital.
Teammates Vince Dunn and Alex Pietrangelo immediately called for medical help after Bouwmeester slumped over with 7 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first period. After a couple of minutes, Bouwmeester was taken out on a stretcher through a tunnel next to the Blues bench.
Bouwmeester appeared to be grabbing a drink of water when he began to slowly fall. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the Blues’ bench.
Players from both teams gathered to see what was wrong before he was taken away. Both teams then went to their dressing rooms and the game was called off a few minutes later tied at 1-1.
Players from both teams met for hugs and well-wishes after changing out of their gear. The game is to be made up at a later date.
The 36-year-old is in his 17th NHL season and has for that time been known for his strong skating and conditioning. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.
Bouwmeester was skating in his 57th game this season, the 1,241st of his NHL career. He skated 1 minute, 20 seconds in his last shift before collapsing and logged 5 minutes, 34 seconds of ice time in the game.
The Blues in April last year signed the veteran defenseman to a US$3.25 million, one-year deal for this season.
Bouwmeester held one of the longest ironman streaks in NHL history with 737 consecutive regular-season games played until a lower-body injury in 2014. He missed time in the 2015-2016 season with a concussion and a hip injury ended his 2017-2018 season.
He played all but four games last year and has not missed a game this season.
The last player to collapse on an NHL bench was Dallas forward Rich Peverley in 2014. Peverley had an irregular heartbeat and the quick response of emergency officials made sure that he was all right.
The NHL has pages of emergency medical standards that spell out in specific detail that at least two doctors must be in attendance for every game and one must be within 15m of the bench.
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