How Many People Have Died By Hockey Pucks?

Want to learn about how many people have died by hockey pucks? Despite hockey being considered a violent sport, very few people have died from hockey pucks. There have been more deaths in baseball than hockey. Hockey arenas have a protective glass wall, which stops flying hockey pucks and keeps fighting players from throwing each other into the crowd. After 2002, arenas were required to put up nets as an extra precaution against hockey puck deaths.

The nets became a requirement after an incident that took place in March of 2002. 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil was attending her first hockey game. The game was between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames. Columbus player Espen Knutsen hit a slap shot that traveled up the 15 rows to where Brittanie sat. The puck struck her forehead causing her head to snap back. The hit from the puck is not what killed young Brittanie, but the snap of the head damaged an artery that led to clotting of the arteries and swelling of the brain. Brittanie died from the hockey puck injury a couple days later.

The Blue Jackets placed her initials on their helmets as a memorial. Those initials remained there the rest of the season. The incident will forever haunt the team and Espen Knutsen. Brittanie's hockey puck injury was rare, and her death was the first NHL spectator death in 85 years.

When hit with a hockey stick, pucks can travel at over 90mph. Players are often in the direct line of these speedy pucks. Some people might think that many players have died from hockey pucks, but this isn't true. As for spectators, hockey puck deaths are rare for players. There have been very few reports of on ice deaths by hockey pucks.

In January of 2005, Jaxon Logan, a hockey player at Brigham Young University, was struck in the chest by a hockey puck. He was trying to block a slap shot and the hockey puck hit his chest hard. Logan was able to get up but then collapsed moments later. The hit from the puck caused cardiac arrest and made his heart stop. A similar incident happened in November of 1997. Graham Christie played for the then named Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He, too, died from a hit to the chest by a hockey puck. The Prairie Junior Hockey League named their Rookie of the Year trophy in his honor.

Despite the violent tendencies of hockey players, and the speed at which hockey pucks fly, deaths are rare in the sport. That does not mean no one gets hurt. That is a completely different list and one that would take up a lot of space. Injuries happen all the time, to both players and spectators. There may be broken bones or stitches, but very few injuries result in death.

References:

Brigham Young University Hockey: Jaxon Logan, icecathockey.org

CNNSI.com – Coroner: Damaged brain injury killed girl, Associated Press