This type of hit is the NHL’s greatest fear. They won’t come out and say it, but they are utterly terrified that someone will end up as a paraplegic or die on the ice from a scary hit like this. That’s why they are trying to clean up the game and get hits like the one Patrick Kaleta threw on Brad Richards out of the game. That’s why they’ve tried to implement rules and suspended players whenever possible to keep something like this from happening.
In a Nationalliga B playoff game last week, 33-year-old defenseman Ronny Keller is now a paraplegic from this hit from Langenthal player Stefan Schnyder. Yes, Keller sort of made contact first when he slowed down, but he was merely bracing himself for the hit he knew was coming. Unfortunately, bracing himself didn’t work as Schnyder launched him headfirst into the boards.
Keller is currently in the ICU of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in Nottwill. According to Tages Anzeiger, the chief physician released this statement:
“Following the serious injury of the fourth thoracic vertebra, Ronny Keller will be a permanent paraplegic. There is neither head nor brain injuries. “
This injury occurred during overtime and Schnyder is currently being investigated by prosecutors for any criminal complaint that could be filed against him. This is just a terrible incident and I hope that people will learn from it.