Saturday, February 18, 2017

Scary situation for hard nosed coach

  • I knew Don Nachbaur was a hard nosed coach. What I didn't know was the Spokane Chiefs head skipper has a hard head. No seriously, he does, with a high pain tolerance to match. In what can only be described as a scary incident in the second period of Friday's 5-4 overtime win over the the Kelowna Rockets, Nachbaur was struck in the head by a puck that came rocketing off the stick of defenceman Cal Foote. I've seen coaches or players struck, unexpectedly, on the bench by a puck before, but with no-where near that much velocity. Foote, essentially at his own blue line and arguably less than 12 feet from the Chiefs bench, ripped a slap shot at the right boards in an attempt to send the puck all the way down the ice. The puck did not strike the boards though. The galvanized piece of rubber went straight for the Chiefs head coach, who had little, if no time to react. Fortunately, and if you are a religious man - by the grace of God - he wasn't more seriously hurt as the puck struck Nachbaur. Expectantly, Nachbaur went down quickly only to rise to his feet with a trainer holding a towel in an effort to slow the bleeding. With everyone amazed that the 58 year-old was walking towards the trainers table for stitches and not being carried off on a stretcher after what they just saw, it came as an even a greater surprise that Nachbaur returned to the bench for the start of the third period. While the coach was as tough as nails as a player (watch the video) when he was with the Flyers, I am still amazed that, outside of some blood and a puck sized lump on his head, the coach was able to walk away from a scary situation with a story both he, I and those that watched in horror will not soon forget. Thankfully, Don Nachbaur, one of the winningest coaches in the WHL is ok. 

1 comment:

matthew vonsteuben said...

Great article Regan! I watched the game live and was rather alarmed by that play and after watching the replay several times I will say that was a careless and avoidable decision by the young player. I understand that the game happens at a very fast pace now days and accidents happen, but this play was avoidable and I hope at the very least the Kelowna organization has a long discussion with this young man about making better decisions in situations like that. Kelowna was on the PP in their O zone and a high clearing attempt by Spokane was tipped out of the air by a Kelowna player. As the Spokane and Kelowna player raced to recover the puck in the neural zone there was a very clear delayed high stick call by the neural zone official which both players appeared to be aware of. Rather than the Kelowna player just touching up the puck and stopping play he took what appeared to me to be a very avoidable and unnecessary slap shot toward the Spokane bench. I'm sure this player is just as thankful as anyone else who was watching this game that this incident didn't end in a more tragic scenario. Just as we saw in Minnesota the other day, all players need to be accountable for their actions as this is another play that should've never happened and hopefully never happens again.