Exactly one week ago we showed you a questionable hit by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi which stood on the boarder between “clean” and “dirty”. There should be no debating where the hit we bring you today stands.
It was another full slate of OHL games this past Friday, and what began as an entertaining night turned out to be a scary one for the Kitchener Rangers, their fans, and the family of Ben Fanelli.
With his team up 2-0 eight minuted into the second period, Fanelli skated the puck behind his own net. As Michael Liambas of the Erie Otters came bearing down on him, the Rangers defenseman attempted to reverse the flow by playing the puck back to his partner, but that didn’t stop him from receiving a vicious hit to the head, which sent his helmet flying into the air and knocked him to the ice where he lay unconscious for the next 40 minutes.
The Kitchener players began a prayer circle as trainers attended to Fanelli, who lay motionless beside a pool of blood created from a cut he sustained on his head. His mom, who was in attendance with some other family members, reportedly fainted from the sight of her injured son and had to be revived.
Fanelli would eventually be taken off the ice and airlifted to the hospital where he remained in critical but stable condition. He was diagnosed by doctors at the Grand River Hospital as having sustained a fractured skull and orbital bone, as well as facial lacerations, but has been making progress.
The latest news coming on Sunday states that he remains in intensive care, in critical but stable condition. Our thought and prayers go out to Fanelli, his family, and friends during this tough time.
As for the culprit, Liambas has been suspended indefinitely by the OHL as the incident is under review. Such aggressive behavior is nothing new for the Otters forward as only a week ago he was featured in two separate fights during a rough affair with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. This time his actions were nothing short of barbaric. Although he was reportedly very shaken up by the incident, that should not overshadow the lack of respect and utter disregard for the health of Fanelli he displayed on this scary play, which truly has no place in the game of hockey.
Let the debate on head shots continue. (Here is the replay on CBC HNIC Saturday Night)