20 October 2007
Dan, Karen, Wendy and Brad’s sisters arrived at the sound of the siren’s echo off the building. “Are you alright Brad?” Dan asked seeing the blood stains on his hockey uniform.
“I’m okay, it was Pete. I think a skate must have slashed him across the neck above his neck guard when we were on the ice. It happened so fast, at first I thought it was me who was cut. Are you guys going to the hospital?”
“I’m not sure, we should,” They looked at his blood stained hands and uniform, growing nauseous.
“Go if you need to go, Jake and I can get a lift to the hospital after the game. Mr. Kendall, Vicky and Abby have already left for the hospital.”
“You two can go, I’ll stay behind and bring Brad and Jake,” Wendy offered.
“And we’ll stay with her too,” Diane and Brenda agreed.
“Go, Mom and Dad. I know you’d want to be there for Scott, Vicky, and Abby,” Brad motioned.
The arena staff took scrapers, shovels and a large plastic can out to the ice. The Ref conferred with the staff then went to both benches then finally to the time keeper’s box.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, we’ve had an injured player on the ice. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Kingston player, Pete Kendall and his family. Both teams are being sent to their dressing rooms so that the ice can be cleaned up. The remaining 4:34 of the first period will be played after the intermission then the teams will switch ends of the ice for the second period.”
Rob St.Cyr quickly cancelled the fun and games that normally take place at the intermission and the Public Address system played subdued rock music. Several fans in the arena were affected by the sight of blood gushing from the injured hockey player. Some had to sit down feeling faint or went to the washroom feeling nauseous. Most anyone would be distressed by the sight of so much blood.
Volunteer members of St. John’s Ambulance who would normally attend to an injured spectator aided those who felt ill.
Brad tried to wipe the blood, now becoming sticky, from his hands with the once white towel and returned to the ice. He picked up his gloves and stick, fans looked on in horror at the streaks of blood that had stained his white sweater, sleeves, face shield, hands, and face. The fierce looking Falcon emblem on his sweater looked like it had been in a life or death battle for survival.
The crowd began to stand and applaud him for his part in helping the injured Kingston player. This was no time to smile and wave to the appreciative fans and he skated off the ice with a blank stare in his eyes.
In the ambulance, the paramedic had started an IV with blood plasma to counter Pete’s blood loss. Jim stayed straddled over Pete’s unconscious body, applying pressure to his neck wound. The Ambulance driver radioed the hospital describing the victim’s injuries and the emergency room was alerted.
Jim had to take his hands away from Pete’s neck as Doctor Anderson attempted to stem the flow of blood with locking forceps clamps. Blood spurted from his wound as the Doctor frantically tried to find the damaged artery. He found the blood vessel and clamped off the cut end. The other end continued to pump out blood and Jim returned his hands to apply pressure on the wound.
The clamp looked odd, hanging to the side of his neck as the three worked frantically to save Pete’s life, “Do you know his blood type?” Dr. Anderson asked. Jim instructed him to take his cell phone from his side pocket saying he kept medical information on all the players.
“Most of the players are type O,” Jim mentioned.
“Yes, he is type O and has no allergies. Good information to have on your team,” the doctor mentioned.
“He looks very pale,” Jim commented of Pete’s facial colour.
“How much blood do you think he lost?” the doctor asked.
“I’d say about two litres, maybe more. His heart and pulse were pumping it out so fast.”
“The human body only hold four litres so he’s lost close to half.”
The ambulance abruptly halted under the canopy of the emergency entrance to Belleville General Hospital. The fast pace of Jim, the paramedics, and Doctor Anderson indicated the dire situation for Pete. Jim breathed heavily from adrenalin as the hospital staff took over the care of Pete. He began to supply the admitting staff with the personal information he had on Pete.
Inside the treatment room, several nurses immediately began to cut off Pete’s uniform, pads, and skates. In less than a minute he was naked, then covered up and rushed to the operating room.
Jim went to the washroom to calm down his nerves and wash up when he was joined by Doctor Anderson, “You were quick to help your player. I’ll catch a ride with you back to the game.”
Jim called Coach Green saying Pete was at the hospital and he would take a cab back to the arena. While waiting for his ride, he recognized Scott and Vicky arriving. They met in the waiting room and he said Pete was in good hands. Doctor Anderson said Pete’s neck wound was very serious and would have to wait for more accurate information from the hospital staff.
Dan and Karen soon arrived and joined Scott, Vicky, and Abby to wait for news concerning Peter. They exchanged handshakes and the wives hugged and held hands in support. Jim went to the window to tell the nurse the parents of the injured hockey player had arrived. He came out from the restricted area and they hurried to him.
“Thank you so much, Jim, for helping Pete,” Scott offered his hand.
“I want to see Peter!” Abby implored.
“He’s gone to surgery. I’m glad I was able to help but you should be thanking the Hayward boy from the other team who began to apply pressure to Pete’s neck wound right away. At the rate he was losing blood, Pete would have had only a few minutes to live.”
“The other boy you mentioned is our son, Brad Hayward. Our families are best friends,” Karen said, kissing the back of Vicky’s hand.
“Brad is my boyfriend and Pete is my brother,” Abby mentioned.
“Aha, so you’re the sister who caused Pete to put Hayward in the hospital,” Jim surmised, his eyes scanning her petite body in her revealing dress.
A nurse came to them and said Pete was on the third floor and there was a waiting room up there. The families hurried to the elevator as Jim and Doctor Anderson went out to their waiting cab, “I want to stay with you but I must get back to the team.”
Vicky held Scott’s hand tight as they rode the elevator in silence to the third floor, “Derek plays tonight in Ottawa. Should I call him and tell him what happened to Pete?” she asked.
“Maybe you should. News of this kind will travel fast through the other hockey teams and no doubt be on the TV news.”
Once in the waiting room, Vicky called Derek to tell him what happened to Pete. She tried to explain the incident the best she could and mentioned it was Brad who was the first person on the ice to help him. Derek wanted to leave right away for home but Vicky and Scott said for him to play his game and would call the team with any news.
The Falcons dressing room went silent as Brad entered. The players looked on wide-eyed at the blood stains on his sweater, pants, and socks. His helmet, visor, and cheek also showed smears of blood. He hurried to the washroom and immediately threw up in the toilet.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” he yelled pounding his fist on the wall in frustration for Pete’s injury.
He returned to the main room, his teammates looking to him, “Holy shit, man! What you did was something else!” Dale remarked.
“I couldn’t believe all the fucking blood! Guys, make sure your neck guards are on and fitting you properly!” Brad mentioned and they all took them off and reattached them.
Coach Stanton went to Brad, “Son, I’m proud of what you did for Kendall. That’s real sportsmanship. If you want to leave the game and go to the hospital, we’d understand.”
“Thanks, coach but all I’d do is be waiting around like the rest of the family. Besides, we’ve got a game to win.”
“Brad, you’ll have to change your uniform. It’s too blood stained to be allowed back into the game. Besides, I don’t want the fans to see how much of the white was turned red,” the trainer said. He went to the storage room and soon returned with a clean sweater, pants, and socks.
As Brad changed, Coach Stanton prepared the team for the next period. “As a coach, parent and hockey fan, I pray that Pete Kendall will be alright. Of the thousands of body checks and falls that happen to players during the course of the season, it’s no wonder more of you aren’t injured. I know it’s difficult to control a fall but please, try to be mindful of your skates. The blades are kept so sharp now you can shave off your whiskers, for those who can grow them,” he jested with a grin.
“However, as Brad said, we have a game to win. Kendall’s injury will likely play on the Frontenacs minds and we must take advantage of that. Keep steady pressure on their D-men close to the net.”
Brad asked permission to look for his family in the seats. He caught Wendy’s attention and motioned her to the lower level, player’s entrance. She noticed the clean uniform he was wearing and gave him a long thank you hug. Wendy said his parents had gone to the hospital to be with Scott, Vicky, and Abby. If she found out anything about Pete’s condition, she’d get word to him.
The National Sports Network returned from a commercial break, “Ken Morrison back again with Mark Bailey and Jim Armstrong. Gentlemen, we witnessed one of the dangers of playing hockey, a player being horribly cut by a very sharp skate blade.” A replay was shown and stopped at the point of impact from the colliding players.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pete Kendall, his parents and the Frontenacs team. Isn’t it ironic that the player Pete Kendall put in the hospital with cracked ribs, Brad Hayward, would be the one closest to him to react and begin first aid,” Mark noted.
“We will pass along any news on Pete Kendall’s condition as soon as we have it,” Ken added. “And I wonder if Belleville will try to take advantage of the mindset the Kingston players must be feeling knowing their teammate might be, at this very moment, fighting for his life.”
Ken could be seen with his hand to his earpiece, “Our operators in the studio truck have informed me that the head Referee went to the Kingston coach and asked him if he wanted to postpone the remainder of the game due to Kendall’s injury. Coach Green replied the team wanted to finish the game for their teammate. This could also inspire the Frontenacs to play harder for the sake of their fallen player.”
“The Referees reviewed several replays of the incident in slow motion and wanted to make sure the Kingston team didn’t single out the Belleville player as the cause of Kendall’s injury. Close examination of the video showed, in the confusion of the four player collision, Pete Kendall’s neck was cut by the skate of his own teammate, Will Carson.”
“And what may be lost in this horrible incident is the fact Brad Hayward continues to put points on the board with a goal and assist in the first period,” Mark stated.
The teams returned to the ice for the remainder of the first period, ten minutes longer than a normal intermission. The ice behind the Kingston net was cleaned leaving a slightly pinkish tinge to the normal white colour. Brad looked up to the stands and noticed only Wendy, Diane and Brenda remaining. No happy smiles, only stone-faced stares anxiously wondering about Peter’s fate. He and Jake gave a wave of their glove to them and Brad was anxious to hear any word about Pete’s condition. He didn’t want to think of the worse possible ending.
Each team’s players were on the ice for their first shift and Brad started to skate towards the Kingston bench. The linesman stopped him wanting to prevent any possible confrontation.
“Will you take me to their bench? I’m not going to cause any trouble.” The Kingston players wondered why Hayward was being escorted to their bench. The Refs noticing the two skated over.
“Coach Green if you hear anything about Pete’s condition will you have one of your players tell me? This goes beyond playing hockey against each other, he’s my friend too and my girlfriend’s brother,” Brad was growing emotional and had to fight back tears.
“I’ll make sure you know. And Hayward, you did well out there, thank you from the team!” he said offering his hand. As they shook hands, several players tapped their sticks against their inside boards. The Frontenacs Captain Tyler Reese knew how he wanted to thank Brad and would save it for the end of the game.
Play continued from the point the Ref had stopped the previous play. Both teams were cautious and the last several minutes finished quietly. The teams changed ends for the second period and Brad looked to the Kingston bench as he skated by.
“No word yet!” Coach Green said loudly.
The second period began and immediately the Falcon’s could sense the intensive play of the Frontenacs. Brad, Mike, and Jake had a strong shift and Brad, open in the slot let go a blistering slap shot.
“Oh, what a fantastic save by Manning! He robbed Hayward of a certain goal!” Mark yelled into his microphone.
“Good save Chris,” he offered as the players muddled around the crease.
“You’ll have to do better than that to beat me tonight!” he muttered through his mask.
“Just watch your glove side low next time,” he warned.
The three mates were replaced and they rested on the bench. Depending on their next play around the net, Brad knew what he wanted him or his line mates to try next on Manning.