Career of prospect's dad ended by head shot
Such hits will 'always will be in the game:' young Beukeboom
MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
WINDSOR — Brock Beukeboom sees the impact head shots can have whenever he looks at his father.
Jeff Beukeboom was a rugged NHL defenceman who suffered multiple concussions during his playing days, which included stints with the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers. The most devastating blow came as a result of a sucker punch by Matt Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings in November 1998.
Forced to retire because of the injuries, Jeff still has headaches, foggy spells, all the things which can hinder everyday life.
Now his son Brock is on the verge of an NHL career. A defenceman with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Brock won the hardest shot event at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects skills competition Tuesday night with a pair of blasts that registered 92.4 m.p.h.
Given the woes that his father has endured, Brock is sensitive to the impact head shots can have on a recipient in hockey. At the same time, he feels they never really will be removed from the sport, a surprising statement to be sure.
“I think head shots always will be in the game,” Brock Beukeboom said Tuesday. “Because of the speed and the physical nature of the game, they are going to happen. It’s important that better protection is developed and I believe technology is doing that.
“I suffered a concussion last year and my dad overreacted. That’s very understandable.”
The head shot issue reared its head in junior hockey again this past week after Rouyn-Noranda’s Patrice Cormier elbowed Quebec’s Mikael Tam in the head Sunday. Remparts spokesman Nicole Bouchard said Tam is walking normally and appears to be clear-headed, even though he has no memory of the elbow to the face that sent him to hospital.
Tam did return to Quebec City, Bouchard said.