DALLAS- Events tonight in the American Airlines Center sent chills through the Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars, and they had nothing to do with what happened on the ice.
Their game was stopped with 13:37 remaining in the first period and was eventually postponed after Dallas forward Rich Peverley suffered a cardiac event on the Dallas bench after finishing a shift.
Peverly, 31, collapsed and was carried to the tunnel separating the team benches, where he was “successfully treated with standard therapy,” according to the emergency physician who attended to Peverly in the arena.
Dr. Gil Salazar, affiliated with UT Southwestern Emergency Medicine in Dallas, said medical staff defibrillated Peverly, who has a preexisting heart condition that was discovered before the season began.
“We provided oxygen for him, we started an IV, we did chest compressions on him and defibrillated him, provided some electricity to bring a rhythm back to his heart,” Salazar said. “That was successful with one attempt, which is very reassuring.”
Peverly was alert and talking when he was transported to a hospital for further evaluation, Salazar said.
“I was able to talk to him in the back of the ambulance and he was able to tell me where he was,” Salazar said. “He actually wanted to get back in the game.”
The NHL, in a statement, said Peverly was in stable condition last night.
Play continued for several moments after Peverly collapsed, and players and staff from both teams frantically tried to catch the attention of officials on and off the ice by screaming and banging their sticks. Blue Jackets trainer Mike Vogt threw a towel on the ice.
The initial thought of some on the Blue Jackets bench was that a fan had attacked someone on the Stars bench, but Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said he recognized what was happening right away.
“As soon as he came off the ice, he collapsed,” Ruff said. “I instantly stood on the bench and started screaming up in the crowd for a doctor.
“I was just screaming to let the doctors know we needed somebody ASAP and they were there ASAP. I can tell you firsthand, it was an absolute marvel what they went through.”
Other than Ruff, players and staff from both teams were not made available to the media after the game was postponed.
Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said both teams badly shaken by the incident. The teams remained on the ice or at their benches for several minutes while Peverly was treated, nervy moments for them and a good-sized crowd.
“As scary moments go…I’m just glad our league is so good at getting the best professional help in case things happen,” Davidson said. “They’re always near the bench and they did a great job.”
The Blue Jackets held a 1-0 lead when the game was stopped. Nathan Horton scored a power-play goal at 2:44.
The NHL will reschedule the game at a later date, though it is not clear if it will be resumed or replayed in its entirety.
A 2005 game between Nashville and Detroit was postponed because of similar circumstances It was stopped in the first period after Detroit defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure requiring CPR and the use of a defibrillator.
That game was replayed in its entirety, although Nashville, which led 1-0 at the time of the stoppage, began the rescheduled game with a 1-0 lead.
Peverly had a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat in September and missed the entire preseason and the season opener.
The condition also kept him out of a 4-2 loss at Columbus on Tuesday, before which Peverly said he didn’t feel well and was unable to fly, the Dallas Morning News reported.