Cory Sarich spent much of his nearly 1000 game NHL career as a tough as nails depth defender. He hit hard as a truck, as they say. He undoubtedly got hit just as hard more than a few times.
Now Sarich can really compare those NHL battles with getting hit by a truck, thanks to a terrible cycling accident near Windermere, British Columbia in the summer of 2014.
Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald tells the story:
Sarich had gone out for a morning ride on July 21, taking his hybrid bike along Windermere Loop Road — a challenging, 40-minute training session on a quiet road.
He approached a descent and spotted an oncoming grey Ford F-350 Ford truck. The driver made a left-hand turn in front of him without signalling. Sarich used his brakes and tried to stay in control of his bike but skidded and ended up sliding underneath the vehicle on his stomach.
The driver’s right rear tire had driven over his back, nearly crushing his body. Sarich suffered five cracked vertebrae, burns on his shoulder and wrist from the truck’s muffler, a swollen left arm and leg, a large laceration on his head, and a serious case of road rash.
Shaken, shocked, and bleeding extensively, Sarich still managed to stand up and called for help.
“The first thing in my mind was, ‘I’m not going to die here right now, so let’s get this thing moving,’ ” recalled the Saskatoon native who was drafted 27th overall in the 1996 NHL entry draft. “I wasn’t sure the severity of my injuries. I’d worn all the ends of my fingertips off. I was bleeding from everywhere, I had so much road rash.
“My helmet was busted up in probably seven or more pieces. It was just in pieces hanging by the chinstrap and was actually choking me, so good thing I had that on because it helped in saving my life.”
Unfortunately for Sarich he was an unrestricted free agent at the time of the accident. Given his age and deteriorating foot speed, there was not a lot of interest in the veteran defenseman shown early in the summer. His lingering injuries may scare off all NHL offers altogether now, effectively ending his NHL career.
Let's hope not, as a comeback would be one heck of a feel-good story to celebrate.