Ex-Habs coach Jacques Demers in stable condition after infection, wife says

Former NHL coach and Canadian Senator Jacques Demers is in stable condition after being rushed to hospital on Saturday. His wife says he's suffering from an infection, and didn't suffer a second stroke as originally feared.

Stroke last April led to 3 months of intensive rehabilitative therapy

Jacques Demers took part in a ceremony Tuesday before the Montreal Canadiens' home opener. (Radio-Canada)

Former NHL coach and Canadian Senator Jacques Demers is in stable condition after being rushed to hospital on Saturday.

Radio-Canada and his employer, the sports television channel RDS, had earlier reported he had suffered a stroke — his second in six months.

But his wife, Deborah Anderson, told a Montreal newspaper last night that tests showed he was in fact suffering from an infection.

"He's fine, he underwent some tests and everything suggests that it is not a stroke, but an infection," she told Le Journal de Montréal. 

Anderson said she "didn't want to take any risks" after his earlier stroke when he showed signs of confusion. He is conscious and in stable condition, she said.

Demers, 72, suffered a stroke on April 6 that was followed by three months of intensive rehabilitative therapy. 

His recovery had progressed to the point that he was able to take part in a ceremony last Tuesday at the Bell Centre, a rare public appearance since his first stroke.

Demers, using a wheelchair, handed a ceremonial torch to captain Max Pacioretty before the Montreal Canadiens' home opener.

Senator Jacques Demers, seen here in 2010, is a beloved figure in Quebec. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
​The crowd at the Bell Centre offered Demers a long and loud ovation. As the Habs coach in 1993, he led the team to its last Stanley Cup.

That, along with serving as a hockey commentator for RDS, has made Demers a beloved figure in Quebec.       

He also coached the Québec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues. He was named to the Senate in 2009 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and currently sits as an Independent. 

An outpouring of support for Demers was expressed on social media outlets immediately after news of the second stroke began to circulate online.