Summer is upon us and while most of us can sit back, sip on a Mojito in our backyards and wait for hockey season to start up again, NHLers continue to work out and get ready for the upcoming campaign. Many must also recover from injuries to be back in time for training camp.
While many injuries happen on the ice during the fast-paced games, others occur off the ice (or while stepping onto it), in the weirdest of situations. As I kick back and tan on my lounge chair, I give you my Top 10 weirdest hockey injuries.
1. Joe Sakic – Snow Blower Attack
During the 2008-09 season, the Colorado Avalanche captain was already out with back problems when he tried to clear snow from the blower and broke three fingers. Sakic required surgery to repair tendon damage. After being sidelined with a herniated disk and missing a game with an infected tooth, his snow-blowing freak accident caused him to play only 15 games during his last season. Sakic ended his NHL career with 1641 points and one of the oddest mishaps in sports.
2. Manny Legace – Red Carpet Slide
On Oct. 24, 2008, St. Louis Blues goaltender Manny Legace stepped on the ice to face the Los Angeles Kings when he slipped on the carpet that had been placed there for Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck before the game and a narrow carpet walkway had been placed from the gate of the Blues bench to center ice. Legace was the first player onto the ice for St. Louis when he stepped down, causing the carpet to slide. Legace left after the first period with a strained hip flexor.
3. Brent Sopel- Back- Cracking Cracker
Sopel was a scratch for the opener of Vancouver’s Conference quarterfinals against the Dallas Stars on April 11, 2007 after suffering back spasms at home when he bent down to pick up a cracker dropped by his daughter. Sopel only missed the one game but he probably wished he had a better excuse to give the media for missing the playoff opener.
4. Brian Leetch – Slippery Sidewalk
Leetch played a total of 18 seasons in the NHL and was known for his finesse and elegance on the ice. However, the defenseman might have needed his skates in late March 1993, when he stepped out of a cab in Manhattan, slipped on the sidewalk and broke his ankle. Leetch didn’t seek medical help right away and attended practice the following day. After X-rays were taken, Leetch was informed by the trainers he had a fractured fibula.
5. Rich Parent – Balls and Pucks
In a pre-game warmup, just minutes before a game against the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues’ Al MacInnis unleashed a snapshot that hit his teammate and goaltender Rich Parent right below the belt and broke his protective cup. Parent underwent emergency surgery after suffering a scrotal contusion and ruptured testicle, missing a total of 11 games.
6. Erik Johnson – Golf Cart Accident
Following a successful rookie season with the St. Louis Blues, the young defenseman suffered a set-back during the off-season. Johnson tore both his MCL and ACL in his right knee when his foot got caught between the accelerator and brake pedal of his golf cart during a team outing. Johnson missed the entire 2008-09 season but came back to play another two campaigns with the Blues. He has since been traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
7. Wade Belak – Spider Bite
Belak was a tough hockey player, standing at 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds, but was once taken down by a much smaller opponent. While a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Belak missed the first game of the 2005-06 season due to a spider bite that caused his ankle and foot to swell up and prevent him from getting his skate on.
8. Mikael Renberg- Blisters Are No Joke
In January 2003, Renberg of the Toronto Maple Leafs aggravated a blister on his left hand while trying to tie his skates before a game. His hand became infected and landed him in the hospital with a 104-degree fever. Doctors were able to treat the infection and later revealed they were considering amputating his hand in order to save his life if the treatments had turned out to be unsuccessful.
9. Alexei Kasatonov – Do Not Sit on the Ice
While playing for the New Jersey Devils in 1991, Kasatonov missed three games due to haemorrhoids and required surgery to have them removed. The defenseman played four seasons with the Devils and retired from the NHL in 1996 as a Boston Bruin.
10. Larry Robinson – Horsing Around
At the start of the 1987-88 season, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenseman missed the first 27 games due to a broken leg. He was playing polo when he got injured. Robinson was raised on an Ontario farm and grew up with a love of horses but never imagined it would interfere with his love for hockey.