Hockey

Linesman in critical but stable condition after skate cut

A linesman whose neck was sliced by an errant skate during a junior hockey game on Tuesday night was in critical but stable condition Wednesday in a London, Ont., hospital.

Kevin Brown in critical condition after being slashed in neck during Jr. C game

A linesman whose neck was sliced by an errant skate during a junior hockey game on Tuesday night was in critical but stable condition Wednesday in a London, Ont., hospital.

Kevin Brown was taken to Woodstock General Hospital during the third period of a game between the Woodstock Renegades and New Hamburg Firebirds, leaving behind several pools of blood on the arena ice as fans and players watched in horror.

He was later transferred to London Health Sciences Centre where he was treated in the hospital's trauma unit.

"I saw the skate go up and he grabbed his neck right away," fellow linesman Bruce Byers said. "You knew he was leaking. I told the guys on the ice, 'It's done."'

The game was suspended with 11:22 remaining.

Renegades trainer Bert Cowell, an Oxford EMS dispatcher and former paramedic, said Brown was semi-conscious when he was placed in the ambulance.

"He was starting to fade when he left," Cowell said. "He was pretty pale."

Woodstock's Craig Thomson had just scored to tie the game 4-4 and during the ensuing celebration got into a fight with New Hamburg's Reid Oliver behind the Firebirds net.

The pair traded punches along the boards as Brown and Byers watched.

When Oliver fell to the ice, his right leg went through the air like a cartwheel and sliced Brown's throat.

Brown, initially oblivious to the injury, continued to break up the fight as blood spurted from a severed artery and pooled at his skates.

When he realized the severity of what had happened, Brown immediately placed his left hand on the gaping wound and skated to the Firebirds bench.

There was a collective gasp from the crowd, followed by screams for an ambulance as trainers from both teams attended to Brown.

Players from both teams were shaken.

"Me and Philly [Dan Phillips] were at the bench and we thought he was bringing equipment to the bench," Renegades' captain Cole Maher said. "We realized he was skating too fast to do that.

"I went to our bench and grabbed a towel and brought it down there."

The Ministry of Labour was called to investigate and Woodstock police arrived to take pictures.

With files from CBCSports.ca