UPDATE; Dickinson suffers broken femur


by Peter Ruicci (Independent Media) | Photo by Bob Davies

You couldn’t help but feel it was a serious injury.

It was.

Soo Greyhounds star centre Tanner Dickinson suffered a broken right femur in the third period of Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Barrie Colts at GFL Memorial Gardens.

The Perrysburg, Ohio, native is expected to miss considerable time, perhaps the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League season.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a significant amount of time, but we’ll have to see how things go,” Hounds’ general manager Kyle Raftis said on Sunday. “We haven’t even talked about how long he’ll be out. There are a lot of ranges with all of that stuff and he’s not even out of the hospital yet.”

Also known as the thighbone, the femur is the longest and strongest bone in the body.

“Tough to see. You’re sick to your stomach watching it,” added Raftis. “He’s put so much time into his hockey and through no fault of his own, he takes a dirty hit and is in a lot of pain. It’s definitely tough to see someone like Tanner go through that.”

Midway through the final frame, with the score 2-2 at that point, Dickinson left the ice on a stretcher after sliding into the boards behind the Barrie net.

While racing down ice for the puck, Barrie’s Ethan Cardwell shoved Dickinson from behind. The 19-year-old (2002 birth year) collided with defenceman Connor Punnett and tumbled hard into the boards.

At the 8:32 mark, Hounds athletic therapist Julian Cooper attended to Dickinson, emergency protocol was initiated and the St. Louis Blues prospect was taken by ambulance to Sault Area Hospital. He was accompanied by Raftis, who contacted the player’s parents, Steve and Michelle Dickinson, and Blues representatives.

Cardwell was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding.

The Greyhounds third-leading scorer (18-29-47) and team leader in plus-minus (plus-18), Dickinson underwent surgery just before midnight.

Raftis said the Dickinsons are in the process of making travel plans to come to the Sault.

Asked about Cardwell, who was suspended for Sunday’s Colts game in Sudbury, Raftis didn’t sound happy as he said: “Anytime you push an unsuspecting player from behind like that, it’s a dirty play.”

Questioned about whether he expects a lengthy suspension, Raftis said he doesn’t know what the league will decide.

“Our whole focus right now is on Tanner.”

The GM also praised Sault Area Hospital for its professionalism.

“We want to give credit to them,” he said. “They did a great job taking care of Tanner. It was awesome. And Julian’s quick action at the rink was critical. He also did a great job.”

“This is terrible. It’s one of those unfortunate aspects of hockey,” head coach John Dean said during a Sunday afternoon conversation with Independent Media. “I feel awful for Tanner.”

After the Colts tied the game 3-3 with a goal in the final second of regulation, Rory Kerins notched his second marker of the game at :46 of overtime.

Dean said he was able to visit with Dickinson at the hospital on Saturday night.

“I’m super impressed with how he’s handling everything,” the coach added. “He was in good spirits and excited that we got the two points. That’s the kind of kid that he is. He just loves the game.”

The coach also spoke of how “the good news is he’s going to be OK. In the grand scheme of things, that’s the most important thing.”

Reality, however, is the Hounds must prepare themselves to play without a key contributor.

Dean talked about how the Greyhounds owe that to Dickinson – and to themselves.

“Bad timing for him, bad timing for the team,” said Dean, who has often spoken of the impressive character he sees within his dressing room.

Considered serious contenders for both the Western Conference and Ontario Hockey League championships, the Hounds carry a 23-12-3-1 record into North Bay on Thursday for the start of a rare, four-game road trip.

“We’re a very good hockey club and he’s a huge part of it,” Dean said of Dickinson. “But we have a deep team made up of competitive individuals. We will put forth a group effort to find a way to give ourselves an opportunity to win every night.”

First-year centre Bryce McConnell Barker (11-13-24), taken fourth overall in the 2020 OHL draft, will surely be one of the players the Hounds will count on to assume a bigger role – both 5-on-5 and on the power play.

The Soo Greyhounds Hockey Club, and Tanner, would like to extend their sincere appreciation to our HoundPower fan base, and hockey fans near and far, for the concern and well wishes received for Tanner over the last 24 hours.

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