Hockey culture doesn't sit well with dad

JEFF CUMMINGS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

EDMONTON - The father of a young hockey player who is still recovering in a Minneapolis hospital from a broken neck after a devastating hit says the entire sport is due for a fundamental fix when it comes to bodychecking.

Terry Martin's son, 22-year-old Jesse Martin -- a centreman with the University of Denver -- was taken off on a stretcher Sunday night following the hit by Brad Malone, a player with the University of North Dakota during a match Sunday in Grand Forks.

The former player for the Spruce Grove Saints and a product of the Atlanta Thrashers was rushed to hospital after suffering three fractures to his C-2 vertebrae to his neck.

"I am absolutely in favour of the discussion going on right now about changing the culture of hockey," Terry Martin said in an interview.

"I hope they do it sooner rather than later. The game has gone through enough tragic incidences up to this point."

Martin says his son's fractures have stabilized and doctors have confirmed the injury didn't block any arteries -- a good sign for surgery, which could happen Thursday or Friday.

The hockey player is expected to remain in hospital for another week after the surgery, said Martin.

During the second period, Martin was skating with the puck out of his own end near the boards and appeared to have his head down while he was looking at the puck.

That's when Malone struck the player hard like a ton of bricks.

Malone was assessed with a five-minute penalty for charging and a 10-minute misconduct for the play.

However, Jesse Martin did phone Malone while in hospital to console the player who was emotionally shaken, said his father.


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