I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t been said already about Rich Peverley collapsing last night. I’ve watched hockey for my entire life, and this is by far the most afraid I’ve ever been for a player’s health. I’m not going to show videos or pictures or tweets about Pevs collapsing and how it affected the teams and crowd; no one needs to see that again. We’ve probably all seen enough of it today.
I’m personally thankful that I wasn’t watching the game as it happened. I had night class and decided to briefly check Twitter to see the score. When I saw that Pevs had collapsed, I freaked out. At that point, no one was reporting if he was ok or not–just that he had collapsed on the bench and had been carried (stretcher-less) into the hallway. I felt shaky and almost cried. The last time I felt like this was when I learned about the Lokomotiv disaster. Not a fun feeling.
I was 11 when Jiri Fischer of the Red Wings had a similar incident and 14 when Alexei Cherepanov died during a KHL game. Both incidents were eerily similar to what happened at the AAC last night, and thankfully Pevs survived like Fischer did. However, what happened last night has shaken me to my core.
It’s easy to get carried away, especially in a sport as wonderful as hockey. It’s easy to forget what’s actually important. I think that that’s the sentiment echoing through every hockey fan’s mind today. The Stars mean everything to me, but almost losing one of my boys really put that into perspective for me.
I’ve never seen anything like what happened last night. I’ve never heard a crowd so quiet at a hockey game nor have I ever seen anything like the looks on the players’ faces. But everyone reacted beautifully, from the supportive tweets around the hockey and sporting world to the swift, incredible efforts of the Dallas Stars medical staff. Even though last night was a hockey fan’s worst nightmare, it reminded me just how great the hockey community really is.
If we miss the playoffs because Peverley’s not playing, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Pevs is okay. If he has to retire, that’s ok. Whatever will keep this wonderful human and teammate healthy.
At the end of the day, it’s just hockey.
Get well soon, Raptor Jesus.