TURIN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 18: Goalkeeper Peter Budaj #37 of Slovaki fails to stop the goal by Brian Rolston #12 (not pictured) during the first period to tie the game 1-1 during men’s ice hockey Preliminary Round Group B match during Day 8 of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 18, 2006 at the Torino Esposizioni in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

There was a scary moment in a rec league hockey game in Canada last week when a defenseman collapsed on the ice with a heart attack, according to the Ottawa Sun. Dave Wardle, a 57-year-old goalie, recognized the signs of cardiac arrest because the same thing had happened to him on the ice three years ago.

Wardle had seen his teammate skate in a tight circle and collapse while there was a scramble near the opposite net. The defenceman was behind the play, near the blueline, so most players didn’t notice he was down until the play went back in his direction.

“There was nothing in him,” Wardle said. “There was no breathing, no pulse.”

Wardle told teammates on the bench to call 911 and then attempted CPR on the victim. Fortunately, the city of Ottawa has more than a thousand defibrillators distributed across its community spaces, according to the Ottawa Sun article, so a rink attendant soon arrived and was able to reset the man’s heartbeat.

Receiving treatment as soon as possible is crucial for victims of cardiac arrest. Although paramedics arrived soon after, the Wardle’s and the rink attendant’s actions quite possibly saved the life of the player, who remained in the hospital as of Friday.

“I was stunned how many people didn’t know what to do,” Wardle said. “I think people are afraid to make a mistake. But I looked at it differently: I thought, ‘If I don’t do something, this guy’s not going to make it.’”

[Ottawa Sun]

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.