While most NHL players right now are worried about the NHL labour dispute, Phoenix Coyotes prospect Brett MacLean is just happy to be alive. While his brotherhood will one day return to the ice, he never will.
While practising in the summer of 2012, MacLean collapsed on the ice. Inexplicably, he had entered into cardiac arrest.
The Canadian Press has more details.
Just 23 years old and coming off a 25-goal season in the American Hockey League, MacLean was working towards a full-time spot with the Phoenix Coyotes this summer when he joined some friends in Owen Sound, Ont., for a pick-up game.
Little did he know, it would be the last time he pulled on skates as a professional.
"I remember going to the arena and going on the ice and that's it," MacLean said during a recent interview. "I guess 40 minutes in I made a pass and just collapsed."
He was experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. In top physical shape, and with no history of heart disease, MacLean's life hung in the balance. The survival rate in Canada for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is just five per cent.
Fortunately for MacLean, there were people around who started acting quickly. Two fellow players performed CPR until a local firefighter could retrieve the arena's automatic external defibrillator — better known as an AED — and shock him back to life.
Paramedics soon arrived and he was eventually airlifted to a hospital in London.
"I was lucky," said MacLean. "It just kind of shows that it can happen to anyone."
MacLean may have had his NHL dream come to an abrupt end, but he is not dwelling on the negative. He is said to be moving on with his life, looking to enrol in schooling and has taken up running. He was also quick to embrace the opportunity to spread the word about learning CPR.
"The more people that know CPR, the more lives we're going to save," said MacLean.