Linesman fighting for life

In a fight with Craig Thomson, New Hamburg's Reid Oliver lost his footing and accidentally cut the...

In a fight with Craig Thomson, New Hamburg's Reid Oliver lost his footing and accidentally cut the throat of linesman Kevin Brown, who was taken to Woodstock General Hospital. (QMI Agency/Cory Smith)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 2:36 PM ET

WOODSTOCK -- A linesman is fighting for his life in a London hospital after his throat was slashed by a skate blade as he tried to break up a hockey fight.

Horrified fans gasped, amid screams for an ambulance, as trainers from both teams attended the bleeding linesman, Kevin Brown, during the third period of a Junior C hockey game between Woodstock and New Hamburg.

"I saw the skate go up and (Brown) grabbed his neck right away," fellow linesman Bruce Byers said. "You knew he was leaking. I told the guys on the ice, 'It's done.'" Witnesses say the 25-year-old man's neck was gushing blood as he skated off the ice, and he collapsed before reaching the bench at the Southwood Arena.

First taken to Woodstock General Hospital, the Sebringville-area man was transferred to the London Health Sciences Centre where he was listed in critical condition today.

The horrifying incident took place during a third-period fight in Tuesday's game between the Woodstock Renegades and the New Hamburg Firebirds.

The game was suspended with 11:22 remaining.

Renegades owner Bill McLeod said today he'd been told Brown is "not doing so well now." Team trainers say Brown drifted in and out of consciousness as he was loaded into an ambulance.

The Renegades' Craig Thomson had just scored to tie the game 4-4 and, during the celebration, got into a fight with New Hamburg's Reid Oliver behind the Firebirds net.

The two traded punches along the boards as Brown and Byers watched.

Thomson threw Oliver to the ice, propelling Oliver's right leg through the air like a cartwheel and slicing Brown's throat beneath the chinstrap on the right side of his face.

Brown, at first oblivious to the injury, tried to break up the fight as blood spurted from a severed artery.

When he realized the severity of what had happened, the linesman immediately placed his left hand on the gaping wound and skated to the Firebirds bench.

"You can't even describe it," a rattled Byers said of the incident.

Players from both teams were shaken.

"Me and Philly (Dan Phillips) were at the bench and we thought he was bringing equipment to the bench," Renegades' captain Cole Maher said. "We realized he was skating too fast to do that.

"I went to our bench and grabbed a towel and brought it down there." Ontario's Labour Ministry was called to investigate and Woodstock police arrived to take pictures as a precaution.


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