It’s a hit no one ever wants to happen. It’s the type of collision in which there was no intent to injure, and still a player is left in an unfortunate state. It’s the hit that has left Ben Fanelli in a critical but stable state in the hospital with skull and facial fractures, and Mike Liambas at home deeply depressed and feeling awful over the game he loves.
“He’s suffering,” said Bassin, whose team is also receiving counselling. “We’re all taking it badly, but especially him, he’s having a real tough time with it.
The play started with the Erie Otters shooting the puck into the Kitchener Rangers zone for a dump and chase play. After the Kitchener goaltender played it behind the net, Ben Fanelli retrieved the puck to shoot it away and noticed Mike Liambas coming in for the hit. As Fanelli was following through on his shot to feed the puck back up the boards, his body turned to expose his back to the oncoming hit. Once Liambas connected on a shoulder check (many argue his speed warranted a charging penalty), the force of the contact excelled Fanelli’s already turning body into the boards chin first, dislodging his helmet in the process.
“There’s not a coaches clinic in the world that prepares you for something like this,” said Rangers head coach and GM Steve Spott. “At a moment like that, you become a father not a coach. “He has recognized his family, knows his name, those types of items,” he told a local TV station. “But still right now it’s more monitoring and waiting.”
The 16 year old rookie defenseman has played only 7 games at the OHL level, registering 1 assist.
Click Here to see the video of the hit. Let us know if you felt it was a clean check.
Micheal A. Aldred