It's been a heavy week for hockey fans, as tragedy struck players from four teams. Fans pushed rivalries aside to unite on Twitter and other social media, offering prayers, support, sharing tears and comfort. Meanwhile, four players' families, friends and teammates struggle to make sense of the heartbreak in their midst.
Saturday, March 1, 2014 - TIM BOZON
Tim Bozon, a forward with the Kootenay ICE (WHL), was rushed to a hospital in Saskatoon, the day after helping the ICE beat the Blades 4-2 the night before. Doctors determined Tim was suffering from Neisseria Meningitis, a serious inflammation of the tissue around the brain and spine, and placed him in a coma earlier this week to help him heal. His parents flew in from Switzerland and have been constantly at his side.
The WHL has set up a fund to help Tim and his family with expenses during his recovery process. Fans in Canada can donate at any BMO Bank of Montreal branch in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Fans in the U.S. can mail donations to:
Tim Bozon Fund
c/o Western Hockey League
Father David Bauer Arena
2424 University Dr. NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 3Y9
Anyone looking to send get well wishes to Tim can either send them to the above address, or directly to the team:
The Kootenay ICE Hockey Club
c/o Western Financial Place
#2 - 1777 - 2nd Street North
Cranbrook, BC V1C 7G9
Monday, March 3, 2014 - MATT STAJAN
On Monday, March 3, Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan and his wife Katie welcomed their son Emerson into the world, then grieved as the newborn passed away a short time later. Matt has taken a leave of absence from the team to be with this wife, but the Calgary Sun reports, teammates and their wives have rallied around the heartbroken couple in a show of love and support.
Fans who want to show love and support for Matt and Katie Stajan can send cards to:
Matt & Katie Stajan
c/o Calgary Flames
PO Box 1540 Stn. M.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3B9
Friday, March 7, 2014 - RYAN FISCHER
17-year-old Ryan Fischer was found unresponsive in his bed on the morning of Friday, March 7. It was later determined he had died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart). His team, the Grandville High School Bulldogs, were scheduled to play in the Michigan State semi-finals that evening. According to a story in The United State of Hockey blog, Ryan's parents, Scott and Roni, visited the team and urged the players to play that night. (They lost to Detroit Catholic 3-0 in an arena filled with emotional fans from both teams supporting Ryan and his teammates).
Ryan was laid to rest on Wednesday, March 12, following a memorial service where he was remembered as kind, passionate and dedicated to doing "what's right." He had been accepted to both the US Naval Academy and West Point (he had decided to attend West Point), and dreamed of serving his country.
Fans wanting to send condolences to Ryan's family (parents Scott and Roni, siblings Kelsea and Connor) can mail them to:
The Fischer Family
c/o Grandville High School
4700 Canal Ave. SW
Grandville, MI 49418
Monday, March 10 - RICH PEVERLEY
Six minutes into the game between the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets, Rich Peverley skated to the Stars bench following a shift... then collapsed. Teammates quickly carried him into the tunnel as head coach Lindy Ruff screamed for a doctor - the entire drama broadcast live on TV. We later learned emergency crews treated Rich for a racing heartbeat and a stopped heart before rushing him to the hospital.
Now, we learn Rich will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes surgery for atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and rapid heartbeat that makes it difficult to send blood throughout the body. He missed the preseason because of heart issues, but had been given the green light to play following treatment - and worked with team doctors to monitor his heart and took medication regularly.
A return to the ice remains unclear.
Fans wanting to send Rich encouragement and "get well" cards can mail them to:
c/o Dallas Stars
2601 Avenue of the Stars
Frisco, TX 75034
Many people have tweeted well-wishes to/about all of the players mentioned above, but sometimes, a good old "snail mail" letter or card can brighten things up even more. Or am I really old fashioned?