When news of Rich Peverley‘s scary incident broke the other night, any Red Wings fan old enough to remember immediately recalled the night of November 21, 2005 when Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench. I live out of market and news didn’t travel quite as quickly eight and a half years ago, but I will never forget reading about it and seeing the video in my school library the next morning.
After it was announced that Fischer would be playing in the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown, I went back and watched the harrowing video for the first time since I was 16. Watching it as an adult and recognizing the ramifications of what I was watching certainly added additional perspective. I’m 24 now, and seeing a 25-year-old Fischer fighting for his life really hit home for me. Unlike Peverley, who was carried into the tunnel, Fischer was provided medical aid next to the bench. Fischer’s motionless body was never visible, but you could clearly see someone was being administered CPR on the other side of the boards. It was an unnerving sight, both then and now.
– – –
Daily Links: Jiri Fischer Edition
Red Wings fans obviously weren’t the only ones reminded of the Jiri Fischer incident in the wake of Rich Peverly’s collapse. In addition to Fischer himself, players and coaches across the league were forced to relive unwelcome memories after Peverley went down.
Current Philadelphia Flyer and former Predator Scott Hartnell was also on the ice when Fischer went down. Hartnell had a heart issue of his own during intermission of a preseason game against the Red Wings in 2011.
Rich Peverley’s general manager with the Dallas Stars, Jim Nill, was an assistant GM with the Red Wings in November 2005. Nill discussed the long road ahead Peverley faces with The Dallas Morning News.
San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was an assistant under Red Wings coach Mike Babcock when Fischer collapsed. McLellan was adamant about not continuing the game that night, telling the San Jose Mercury News, “Nobody wanted to be there anymore.”
When Jiri Fischer collapsed, he was sitting next to defenseman Mathieu Schneider on the Red Wings’ bench. Now an executive with the NHLPA, Schneider went into vivid detail of the incident with Dave McCarthy of TSN.
In a piece for Yahoo Sports, former Red Wing and current NHL executive Brendan Shanahan calls the two medical emergencies “eerily similar,” while lauding all of the medical staffs involved.
Finally, Fischer made himself available for several interviews in light of recent events. He also reached out to Rich Peverley to assure him he is ready to listen if and when Peverley feels it is appropriate to talk.