ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Niagara IceDogs goaltender Tucker Tynan says he's looking forward to returning from a scary injury he sustained Thursday night during an Ontario Hockey League game against the London Knights.
Tynan needed surgery after suffering a severe cut to the thigh from a skate blade in the opening minute of the second period.
The 17-year-old from Chicago was tended to by medical staff from both teams on the ice before being carted off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
"Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the kind words, truly they mean more than anyone can ever know. An unfortunate situation, looking forward to recovering and coming back even stronger and healthier than before," Tynan tweeted Friday night.
Video of the play showed a Knights player collide with Tynan in the crease 40 seconds into the second period. Tynan tried to get up, then dropped to the ice and looked to clutch his right leg as a pool of blood emerged from his goalie pads.
IceDogs GM Joey Burke detailed the severity of the injury to reporters Friday, saying the collaborative efforts of both teams' training staffs and on-ice personnel saved Tynan's life.
"There was a point in time last night that there was an option that he may have died on the ice due to loss of blood," Burke said.
"Everybody worked in concert last night and really handled it extremely admirably," he added. "I'm dead set that the work of everyone together genuinely did save this young man's life and that is obviously the most important thing."
Burke said he spent Thursday night in the hospital with Tynan's mom and billet family.
"Certainly it's been a trying day for us but the worst is behind us and we're looking forward to working together and move forward here," he said.
The Knights were leading 2-1 when the game was suspended and the league postponed the game shortly after.
Niagara announced earlier Friday that they were postponing two road games this weekend "to allow IceDogs players time to cope and access resources for support." Rescheduled dates are still to be determined.
Tynan is in his first season in the OHL. He is 11-8-4 with a 3.80 goals-against average through 23 games with the IceDogs.
The team has not provided a timetable for his return.
"He's an absolute warrior, he's a champion, he's got the heart of a lion. So we're hopeful (of a comeback this season)," Burke said. "Obviously right now the most important thing is the injuries are no longer considered life-threatening. He's stable, the surgery went well, so our focus is on getting him healthy and feeling good, so there's no rush.
"If he's out for the duration of the season in an effort to get him better than that's the most important thing."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2019.