Whitesboro’s Mowers Remembers NHL Near-Death Incident
When Whitesboro grad Mark Mowers was watching Monday Night Football after the Damar Hamlin injury, it brought back memories of his own experience in the NHL.
Mowers, who is now a scout for the NHL's Minnesota Wild, remembered back to a game in November of 2005 when he was playing for Detroit when teammate Jiri Fischer sat down on the bench, and then suffered a massive heart attack.
"It just brings back awful, awful memories," said Mowers. "I'm just almost speechless. And after what happened the other night, it was so similar."
During a game on November 21, 2005, against the Nashville Predators, Fischer collapsed on the bench after going into cardiac arrest, according to Wikipedia. After being unconscious for six minutes, Fischer was resuscitated by CPR and by an automated external defibrillator by Dr. Tony Colucci, and was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital. Fischer survived the heart attack, but had heart issues after that incident. He was never able to play professional hockey again.
Mowers said he was sitting on the bench at the time watching as the team doctor jumped over the glass and began performing CPR on Fischer. He said it was a shocking scene to view first-hand and despite his desire to compete, he had no interest in finishing out the game. Players from both teams retreated to their respective locker rooms and players were then asked if they wanted to continue. Mowers said the decision was "made pretty quickly," to suspend the game. The game was finished two months later and Nashville won the game, 3-2. The game marked the first time in NHL history that a game was postponed due to injury.
"Your feelings take over and you're just not there," said Mowers. "No matter if you're a good friend of him or not, you basically have seen someone who may or may not live and it's tough to even talk, let alone continue play a sporting event," he said.
Bills' safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital. Monday night's game between the Bills and Bengals was postponed and despite the game's playoff implications, the NFL decided not to replay the contest this week. There's no word yet on whether or not the game will ultimately be played, according to reports from the NFL.