Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen Hits Plank, Takes to UCI Medical Center – Orange County Registry

ANAHEIM — Ducks defenseman Urho Wakanainen was stretched after hitting the end plate hard during the first period of Friday night’s preseason game between the Ducks and the San Jose Sharks at the Honda Center. Lift off the ice rink.

The 23-year-old Finnish linebacker was taken to UCI Medical Center for evaluation, according to the Ducks. The team also reported that he was “fully mobile, fully conscious and alert”.

The game took place at 9:46 of the first quarter, with the Ducks leading 1-0 and Wakanainen assisting Derek Grant. Vaakanainen appeared to hit his head as he entered the end plate and his teammates knew immediately he was in trouble. Grant quickly gestured to the bench for help.

“Our doctors and our trainers have done an incredible job getting to Wakanainen at top speed,” said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins. “And executing an incredible protocol. “It’s not accidental that they do these things. It’s something they actually practice, and tonight’s practice became perfect.”

During the time he was being carried on a stretcher, a disturbing scene occurred at the Honda Center. Vaakanainen looked alert, his eyes widening as he was carried on a stretcher and off the ice. When he was taken away, Vakanainen’s teammates came to the ice and gathered around him.

Grant and Max Jones were the first players to arrive at Wakanainen.

“It was absolutely terrifying,” Jones said. “He played a great game, we scored and then we saw him go down. He just came out. That’s when we knew we had to call the bench. It was pretty scary to be a part of it. Talk, the whole person is moving, everything is on its way out of the ice. That’s good news.”

Grant said they got word from the bench late in the game that Wakanainen was doing well.

“He was working hard, I didn’t know he was going to get hurt like this,” Grant said. “You could tell he was in trouble, he wasn’t moving. So I signaled to the paramedics as well. They did when they went out. Well done. That’s why we have these guys on standby.”

Eakins said: “It’s horrific. I see a fair share of me lying on ice. I don’t like it. Neither of us like it. It makes your stomach churn. Our guys are fine. They come back Bench. Reset is our job.

“That’s not to say we didn’t think about (him). But we got word that he was awake, talking, alert, etc. As soon as I got the word, I passed the ball off the bench immediately and it was a relief for everyone. .”

Vaakanainen joined the Ducks from the Boston Bruins last season in the Hampus Lindholm trade in March. He signed a two-year extension with the Ducks in July that will take him through the 2023-24 season.

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