PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Phantoms forward Garrett Klotz was taken to hospital Friday after suffering a seizure during a first-period fight against Manchester Monarchs forward Kevin Westgarth.
Klotz, who was alert and responsive en route to the hospital, was treated for facial lacerations and is expected to be released from care Saturday.
Klotz and Westgarth dropped gloves after the opening faceoff. The fight moved to the Monarch’s bench when Westgarth hit Klotz with three punches, dropping him to the ice where he appeared to land awkwardly.
Klotz, 20, didn’t hit his head on the ice, but immediately began to convulse. Trainers from both teams quickly attended him and he was lifted off the ice on a stretcher 10 minutes later.
“It was a scary incident,” Philadelphia Flyers/Phantoms GM Paul Holmgren told reporters. “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’s injury comes just weeks after the death of a Don Sanderson, a 21-year-old rookie defenceman for the Whitby Dunlops of the Ontario Hockey Association. Sanderson hit his head on the ice while fighting in a game Dec. 12 and later died Jan. 2.
After Sanderson’s death, NHL vice-president Colin Campbell said the league would put fighting under the microscope to see what changes can be made. He does not support a ban on fighting, but is open to new ideas on the topic.
It is to be discussed at a meeting of league general managers in March.
Klotz, a six-foot-five, 235-pound Regina native, has no goals and one assist in his rookie season.