Today (1989): The Clint Malarchuk Incident

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Today (1989): The Clint Malarchuk Incident

On March 22, 1989, Rick Meagher of the St. Louis Blues sent a puck in front of the net where teammate Steve Tuttle and Uwe Krupp of the Buffalo Sabres collided,  slammed into the Sabres goal, knocking the goal loose and quickly drawing a whistle from the ref.  It was a play hockey fans had seen a hundred times. 

malarchukOnly this time, Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk’s ripped off his mask in a panicked fashion and within seconds, the ice in front of him was covered in blood, more hitting the ground with literally every pulse.   Krupp’s skate had accidentally caught Malarchuck’s neck during the collision, severing his interior carotid artery. 

The result was one of the most shocking and visually jarring scenes in sports history. 

Reports had teammates vomiting on the ice and fans fainting in the stands upon seeing the incident. The announcers on the radio and TV broadcasts struggled to describe the scene as a player appeared to be dying on the ice in front of them.  If not for the quick reaction of Sabres trainer Jim Pizzutelli who was on the ice almost immediately to pinch off the gushing vein, Malarchuk may have died within minutes.   

As it turned out, Malarchuk not only survived the incident but was back in the net six games later. 

There are only so many moments in sports that can be truly categorized as “unforgettable”.  This was one that gained that designation for reasons no one cares to ever see again. 

(Seriously, don’t watch this video if you don’t want to see some scary and graphic footage)

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