Kitchener Rangers' defenceman Ben Fanelli is listed in critical but stable condition in Hamilton General hospital after being injured by a devastating hit during Friday night's OHL game between the Rangers and Erie Otters.
The 16-year old Fanelli was rushed to Grand River Hospital in Kitchener then airlifted to Hamilton General after being driven into the endboards by Erie's Michael Liambas half way through the second period.
The Oakville, Ontario native's head hit the glass while his helmet flew into the air before Fanelli hit the ice hard. Blood pooled on the ice from cuts above Fanelli's eyebrow and face. The game was delayed for 40 minutes as Fanelli was attended to and placed in an ambulance.
Fanelli's parents were among the 6,000 spectators at the Kitchener Auditorium. Fanelli's mother reportedly fainted and had to be revived following the incident.
Kitchener Rangers Chief Operating Officer Steve Bienkowski stated that Fanelli was conscious when the ambulance was taking him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with skull and facial fractures including a broken orbital bone.
"Ben's parents and family experienced something that we all wish would never happen", said Bienkowski in a statement on Saturday. "Their focus and concern for their son needs to be respected. I can't stress enough the need to respect their privacy and that all media inquires and announcements will be made through the Rangers organization. Our immediate focus will be to assist the Fanelli family and our players as we all deal with Ben's injuries."
Liambas, who was ejected from the game and given a match penalty for boarding, was reportedly very shaken up by the incident.