In a sport where the players skate around on sharp skates at high speeds and carry hard sticks in their hand, injuries and accidents are bound to happen, and they do. However, the sport does a miraculous job at preventing the severity of most injuries, however some awful ones do occur and here are three of the worst.
1. Steve Moore Gets Sucker Punched
Now, unlike most of the freak injuries that occur during a hockey game, this one had nothing to do with a “hockey play”. In retaliation for a Moore hit on Canucks captain Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi decided it was a good idea to skate up behind Moore and literally punch him in the back of the neck. Moore was immediately knocked out and fell to the ice, which fractured his vertebrae and ended his playing career forever and resulted in criminal charges against Bertuzzi.
2. Richard Zednik Gets Throat Cut
This was a freak accident and was one of the most graphic injuries in history. His teammate Olli Jokinen got tangled up with an opponent, lost balance and his skate blade accidently clipped Zednik’s neck and sliced his extrernal carotid artery. This caused blood to spray from Zednik’s neck and leave a trail on the ice as he skated to the bench and was immediately attended to by training staff. This was an extremely severe injury that required emergency surgery and could have easily taken his life is medical professionals hadn’t been on top of their game.
3. Hit on Bill Masterton
This unfortunate accident is definitely the worst on ice injury in the history of the NHL. Masterton was hit by two opposing players which caused him to lose his balance, fall and smash his head on the ice. Like many players of his era, he was not wearing a helmet and was knocked out instantly. Masterton had suffered a severe brain injury as a result and died a little over a day after the incident, without ever regaining consciousness. This is still the only death as a result of an on ice incident and was one of the darkest times in NHL history.