CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- "Pink in the Rink" took a dark turn Saturday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Defenseman Dylan Chanter of the Dubuque Fighting Saints had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher midway through the second period of his team's game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders after being knocked unconscious during a fight.
Play was suspended with 11:58 left, and Cedar Rapids leading, 2-0. It has not been determined when, or if, the game will be concluded.
Chanter scrapped with Corey Petrash of the RoughRiders in the corner behind the Dubuque net. The 18-year-old from Armstrong, British Columbia, lost his balance and fell backward, hitting his helmetless head on the ice (dyed pink for a cancer promotion) and dislocating his left shoulder.
The crowd cheered until seeing Chanter begin to severely convulse. The University of New Hampshire recruit's full-body seizure lasted for at least two minutes, as team trainers and the Riders' team doctor rushed to him. He remained on the ice until paramedics arrived on the scene roughly 15 minutes later.
Chanter was conscious and moving when taken from the arena. Dubuque assistant coach Oliver David said the player was in stable condition, with Fighting Saints head coach Matt Shaw with him at the hospital.
Shaw said initial tests and a CT scan showed no immediate concerns for Chanter, but medical personnel decided to airlift him to Iowa City for further evaluation by a neurologist. Saints trainer Sean Murdoch accompanied Chanter to Iowa City, and Chanter's mother will travel to Iowa City today.
"The good thing is Dylan was coherent and talking to his mom on the phone," Shaw said. "But the concern is why this happened, and if there are any lingering issues because of it. We wanted to make sure he was in the best of care."
At 11 p.m., Chanter tweeted: "Wanted to let everyone know I'm awake and okay. Thank you so much for all your thoughts prayers. Nothing compares to the hockey community."
Shortly after the TH went to press, the Saints announced that Chanter had been released from the hospital and would be returning to Dubuque.
Fans seated nearest the fight said Petrash appeared to land a punch to Chanter as he began to fall backward. Dubuque players on the ice tried to get at the Riders forward before realizing the extent of Chanter's injury.
Petrash stood at the door of the penalty box and watched intently as Chanter was treated. He was eventually escorted to the locker room by an official.
"I am not comfortable telling you my view from the bench or giving you my opinion on anything," David said. "I will say he did hit his head on the ice. How that happened or why that happened, I don't know."
After Chanter was taken from the ice, Carlson, David and RoughRiders' CEO Jeff Jauch conferred with the USHL, and the decision was made to suspend the game.
"It was very difficult to see a player go through something like that, especially a player you're emtionally attached to as a teammate," Shaw said. "It would not have been appropriate to continue."
Coaches from both teams did not allow any player to be interviewed by the media.
The USHL sent out a press release late Saturday night, announcing the game suspension.
"Further details as to the player's condition, as well as a rescheduling of the game, will be issued by the Commissioner's Office as soon as they are available," it said.
TH sports editor Jim Leitner contributed to this report.