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Flying hockey puck sends elderly Canucks fan to hospital
An elderly Vancouver Canucks fan was taken to hospital Thursday night after being hit in the head by a flying puck at Rogers Arena.
The freak accident happened a minute before the end of the second period, when Las Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal sent the puck ricocheting off the glass and into the crowd.
The arena waited and watched as the woman who was struck received first aid in the stands. Her injury prompted players to throw towels up to help.
Canucks management said she was taken to hospital for further evaluation, but has since been released.
"We continue to be in communication with her and her family who have indicated she is home and resting comfortably," Jeff Stipec of Canucks Sports & Entertainment said in an email. "Out of respect for their privacy we are unable to provide further comment, but we are pleased to hear she is doing better."
Injuries like these are rare, according to TSN 1040 radio host Matt Sekeres. Wide swaths of protective netting have been hung behind the goalies since 2002, when a 13-year-old girl was struck and killed by a puck in Columbus, Ohio. The NHL made it a league-wide requirement the season after Brittannie Cecil died after being hit in the temple.
"You don't see a lot of this anymore," Sekeres said. "Usually the puck goes up with such a low velocity into the crowds these days that it's more a fight for the souvenir."
People who were at the game told CTV News a number of spectators in the victim's section tried to grab the puck as it flew toward them, but that the elderly fan didn't see it coming.
As a precaution, a video plays before each Canucks game and at the start of each period warning people to keep their eyes on the game and watch for projectiles.
"Pucks can leave the ice at up to 100 MPH," it reads.
Another fan, Wayne Chi, was injured by a puck back in 2014 and launched a lawsuit against the Canucks for compensation last year. On Friday, his lawyer told CTV News the matter has been resolved, but would not provide further information.
Canucks Sports & Entertainment said safety is its top priority, but it will not be making any changes to the size or positioning of the netting in light of the recent accident.
"I think it would have to happen a lot more frequently to hear any big hue and cry about more protective netting in NHL arenas," Sekeres said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos