The Most Disastrous Accidents in NHL History

This is a guest post by Robert Everett; a freelance writer currently based in Chicago. Solving students career and university problems. Having an interest in marketing and business. Follow him on social media at: Facebook & Google+

Ice hockey is a gruesome, yet oddly fascinating sport. It is a 6v6 contact team sport, and when a vulcanized puck gets thrown around with immense speeds and players always jostle for positioning, injuries are bound to happen.

Every contact team sport presents a major health risk, but also consider for a second the type of people who play hockey. They’re stocky and well-built; hockey has no place for pushovers.

So when you have two guys who are unwilling to give an inch to the opposition, some brawls can and most certainly will occur. And it’s not uncommon for terrible traumas to happen.

Fighting in hockey has a polarizing reception, it is both prohibited and may be considered the main draw of the sport.

The number of fights in regular seasons has been on a decline for a couple of seasons now. Fewer brawls occur during regular play. 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons are the only ones that have breached over 700 fights total per season. Since then, the number was on a continuous decline.

There is also the game rule known as “checking,” which allows players to perform defensive moves to disrupt advances of the opposing side. As you can imagine, “checks” can get very physical.

National Hockey League has been around for a while, since 1917, and has seen a fair share of injuries and terrible mishaps. The common NHL injury list includes concussions, strains, horrid bruises. They all are a part of the process. Think of NHL injuries as a battle brand, if a player bites the bullet and gets back to playing with a serious injury, it can positively attribute to his reputation. While sitting out with a minor strain this same player will be considered a wuss. But at the same time, no one will begrudge you for visiting essayontime for your academic needs. Truly a paradox.


Getting sidetracked here, back onto the main topic of discussion – the most disastrous occurrences of hockey injuries.

Even though most injuries are relatively tame in terms of their impact and future rehabilitation process, some truly horrific ones stand out. Needless to say, a ton of them have accumulated over the storied history of NHL.

If you wish to know about the adverse effects of physicality in hockey, you’re in the right place.  This list will serve as a reminder that defensive equipment is not to be taken lightly.

These injuries are very graphic and nature, so photos will not be provided.

Bill Masterton

The saddest story of an injury that was suffered by an NHL player. It is the only instance when an NHL player dies on ice.

In 1968, Bill Masterton was playing for Minnesota North Stars. During the regular season, in one the fixtures against Oakland Seals he was hit by two defencemen and sustained an on-ice head injury, and like most players at that time, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. The damage was so severe it caused him to bleed from every orifice. Masterton went into a coma and died without regaining consciousness.
Legislators began the push to make defensive equipment mandatory after the incident.

NHL immortalized Bill Masterton and came up with a Memorial Trophy in his honor. It is awarded to the player who displays perseverance, dedication, and sportsmanship. With additional regard put to the player who comes back to playing hockey from a life-threatening condition.

Richard Zednik

This unfortunate occurrence had everyone on the edge of their seats. Zednik was a winger for Florida Panthers in 2008.

During a match against Buffalo Sabres, Zendik’s teammate – Olli Jokinen tangled with Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen lost balance and fell on the ice in front of Zednik, who was simply riding along. In the ensuing chaos, Jokinen’s skate sliced Zednik’s carotid artery.

Blood gushed from his neck as he rushed to the bench to get urgent medical assistance, and he was conscious for the most part.

He was treated that same night after losing a lot of blood, but according to his doctors, Zednik’s life wasn’t in any present danger.
This injury is a clear reminder that severe cuts can occur without any premeditation.

Zednik wasn’t the first one to live through such an injury, though.

Clint Malarchuk

The precursor to Zednik’s horrific injury, Clint Malarchuk suffered and survived a similar neck injury in 1989.

On March 22nd, in a game between Malarchuk’s Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues, two players collided near the goal net Malarchuk was tending to. In the ensuing collision, Steve Tuttle’s skate severed Malarchuk’s carotid artery, jugular, and the adjacent sheath muscles.

The gruesome aftermath has shocked the entirety of the hockey venue. Malarchuk, who was conscious at the time, felt as if he was about to die. He asked that his mother gets told that he loved her, after that he asked for a priest.

Malarchuk lost more than a third of a gallon of blood and had hundreds of stitches applied to his large would.

Borje Salming

This incident took place on November 26th of the 1986-1987 NHL season, in a game between Salming’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. During a hockey scrum, Salming was knocked down, and Gerard Gallant accidentally sliced his face with his skating blade.

Salming’s surgery required roughly 250 stitches.

Bryan Berard
In a game between Berard’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators on March 11, 2000, Marian Hossa of the Senators attempted a loose puck but missed, and his stick inflicted a grave injury. He hit Berard into his right eye.

The stick ruptured Berard’s retina and completely detached it, vision in his right eye was almost completely gone.

He underwent countless, complicated surgeries and got back into hockey in 2001 to everyone’s surprise and relief. Berard played in the NHL for six more seasons and had received the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2004 for his sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.

Ian Laperriere

Laperriere suffered through two similar incidents in a single season.

On the 27th of November 2009, he was hit in the mouth with a puck. He lost seven teeth in total and had to endure a couple of dozen stitches.

Another related occurrence happened during 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs (April 22nd) against New Jersey Devils.

Laperriere tried to stop a puck that was going into the net after Paul Martin’s slap shot. Needless to say, he was successful.

As a result, he received an orbital injury and a concussion.

On a related note, he also won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2011.

Trent McCleary

This incident happened in a game between Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers on January 29th, 2000.

It was a brutal season for Canadiens, so McCleary took his chances and dove to block Chris Therien’s slapshot.

The puck has hit McCleary throat in one of the most gruesome ways. After rushing to the bench while struggling to breathe, he got promptly hospitalized.

The puck fractured his larynx and collapsed a lung, and an emergency tracheotomy had to be performed by the surgeons to save his life.

He was forced to hang up his skates after having the misfortune of living through that incident.

It is truly horrific, to see a person getting maimed. Or even worse, to see how a hockey player dies on ice. Unfortunately, it’s all a part of this sport. Injuries are given, and traumas can be substantial. No matter how well you prepare, circumstances will always have a say in the matter.


About Guest Blogger

From time to time, All Sports Talk will accept posts from writers not associated with the site. We do value the content and opinions put out by these authors, but we are not responsible for any claims they make or products they sell. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please visit