PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia Flyers minor league enforcer was discharged from a hospital Saturday, a day after having a seizure following a bloody fight – and weeks after the death of a Canadian senior amateur who hit his head on the ice while fighting.
Garrett Klotz, a hulking 20-year-old right wing in his first season with the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms, was taken off the ice on a stretcher Friday night in the opening seconds of a 2-1 victory over Manchester.
Phantoms spokesman Brian Smith said Friday night that Klotz was alert and responsive on the way to the hospital and watched the rest of the game on television.
“It was a scary incident,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told Comcast SportsNet. “But we just got word from our doctor that he’s clear. There’s no facial fracture. They’re stitching him up. His jaw is fine and there’s no tooth fracture or anything. It’s a scary ordeal, but he’s going to be fine.”
Klotz and Kevin Westgarth – both six-foot-five and Westgarth 12 pounds heavier at 247 – removed their helmets and squared off immediately after the opening faceoff, with Klotz possibly retaliating for Westgarth’s Nov. 7 fight with the Phantoms’ Jeff Szwez.
The long fight ended when Westgarth hit Klotz with an uppercut and two more hard punches, dropping him to the ice – and possibly knocking him out. Klotz appeared to land awkwardly on the boards – but didn’t hit his head – and convulsed for 30 to 40 seconds. He was on the ice for about 10 minutes before being lifted onto the stretcher.
Klotz, from Regina, has one assist and 54 penalty minutes in 30 games for the Phantoms this season. After the Flyers drafted him 66th overall in 2007, he had a goal, three assists and 97 penalty minutes in 52 games last season for Saskatoon in the junior Western Hockey League. In 150 WHL games in three seasons with Red Deer and Saskatoon, he had five goals, five assists and 229 penalty minutes.
Westgarth has a goal, four assists and 109 penalty minutes in 38 games this season for Manchester. The former Princeton forward also played two penalty-and point-free games this season for the Los Angeles Kings.
The seizure followed the Jan. 2 death of Don Anderson, the 21-year-old Whitby Dunlops defenceman who hit his head on the ice after his helmet fell off while fighting Dec. 12 in an Ontario Hockey Association game.