Puck hits P.E.I. girl in the eye at Islanders game

Emma Childs
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Ringette player Brynn Van Wiechen was struck in the eye by a puck at the Islanders game on March 27, ending her season.

Five minutes into the second period of the Islanders game on March 27 and a renegade puck flew into the stands, hitting 18-year-old Brynn Van Wiechen in the eye.

Van Wiechen is the captain of the P.E.I. under-19 ringette team, but her season was cut short due to the injury.

“I was sitting, watching from the third row of section 21,” she said. “They were missing a piece of glass behind the Islanders bench.”

A faceoff took place in front of where Van Wiechen was sitting. As she turned her head to face the game, the puck came flying her way, hitting her in the eye and breaking six facial bones.

“Troy Vance hit the puck,” she explained. “It deflected off a Halifax player and into the stands where it hit me in my left eye.”

Van Wiechen said the team doctor rushed over and slowed the bleeding. She was then taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to consult both a bone and eye doctor.

Today, Van Wiechen’s eye has healed somewhat but still has a long way to go.

“I went from zero vision to 85 per cent vision back in my eye,” she said. “I’ll probably never get full vision back. They think there will always be a little black spot in my eye where the puck hit.”

The injury came just a week before her team’s participation in the national championships in Saskatchewan, where Van Wiechen stayed home.

“It sucks so much because I’m the team captain and it meant a lot to me to go,” she said.

Van Wiechen said her coaches were also upset by the news, along with some teammates who cried when they found out.

“They’re really sad,” she explained. “We’re a really close team.”

Van Wiechen has received a number of calls from both the general manager and the players of the Islanders hockey team, one of which is her boyfriend.

“They feel terrible,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll do something about the glass.”

Van Wiechen hopes to be well enough to step back onto the ice by the end of the month so she can compete for a place on the provincial team for the 2015 Canada Games.

Organizations: Islanders, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Geographic location: Troy, Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • how come
    April 13, 2014 - 19:28

    how come the civic center dosn't need to have safety net all around its rink like other places?

  • Bob Sigma
    April 13, 2014 - 19:00

    Jackofalltrades, only an idiot would blame the victim in this kind of situation. Maybe if the player who was hit and deflected the puck was just a micro second slower or faster the puck would not have hit her. Maybe if the face off was an inch to the left or right of where the puck was dropped she would not have been hit. Maybe if the game has begun just a micro second sooner or if she has been sitting in her seat just a fraction of an inch to the left or right she might not have been hurt. There are a infinite number of variables that could have come together that would have prevented her from being hit. Having someone like you judge her and blame her for almost being blinded is the most callous thing I have seen in a long time. Read the post by William Conrad here because he is describing you to a tee.

    • Jackofalltrades
      April 13, 2014 - 19:24

      Where did I say it was her fault? If yiu had read what I said rather than rushing to call me names, I said it was an accident. Should the rink have had the glass up.....yes. Could she have moved to a safer spot once she noticed the glass wasn't there....yes. If you attended a baseball game and noticed a big hole in the back stop, would sit there? If so, wouldn't you be putting yourself at risk by sitting in a spot where you know there is a potential to get hit?

  • dismayed
    April 13, 2014 - 18:37

    how could someone let a game go on if the safety glass is not in place? I am flabberghasted that coaches let this happen. All safety procedures, equipment and rink accoutrements should be in place before a game starts - and if something happens to them during the game, the game should stop. It's a game for heaven's sake. Only a game.

  • Jackofalltrades
    April 13, 2014 - 15:50

    I feel badly this person got hit and hopefully she is able to make a full recovery, but at a hockey game there are flying pucks and some of them inadvertently end up out of the playing surface. This could happen at any hockey rink during any hockey game. The Eastlink Center does have seating areas that are behind netting, it's a person's choice if they are wanting to go to a hockey game with the potential of a puck going over the glass and they also have the choice to seat in an area that is better protected from flying pucks and it is also their choice to sit in an area where there is less protection. This is an accident. Hopefully this young lady fully recovers and is able to resume/enjoy playing ringette.

    • Bill Players Light
      April 13, 2014 - 17:25

      Jackofalltrades, you are missing the point. She would not have been hit if the protective glass had been replaced.

    • Jackofalltrades
      April 13, 2014 - 17:47

      Bill: No I didn't, as I said she still had the choice to sit elsewhere. She noticed the glass was missing and made the choice to sit there. She also wouldn't have been hit if she hadn't sat there.

  • William Conrad
    April 13, 2014 - 15:24

    I would really like to think RG made the comment because he (or she) did not think it through or it was an honest mistake. Unfortunately, the truth is that people like RG enjoy hurting people. They don't have the courage to say that to the woman face to face, but they have lots of courage to hide behind a phoney name. A sociopath like RG really does need some mental health evaluation. It really frightens me that some people like RG, and there are many more, really go out of their way to try to be cruel to other people. It is the only way they can feel good about themselves and that is what is really sad about RG's comment.

  • RG
    April 13, 2014 - 10:23

    While this is a horrible thing to happen, I always think the same thing every time I hear about an incident like this: What were you doing that you couldn't take the 0.2 seconds to either put your hand up to brace yourself or turn your head? If somebody gets hits right in the face, they must not have been paying attention to the game. Hockey is a fast game. If you plan on watching it, make sure you pay attention the whole time. There's a reason they don't let people go back to their seats from the bathroom or concession stand during play. Don't blame the glass because you weren't paying attention.

    • How it is...
      April 13, 2014 - 11:38

      Seriously? You can't genuinely believe what you wrote. That's one of the stupidest comments I've ever read on here. Apparently you're not allowed to turn your head for a second or talk to a friend at a hockey game? And also apparently it's unreasonable to expect the facility staff to ensure spectator safety by assembling the glass properly? Do us all a favor and never post again.

    • .....
      April 13, 2014 - 11:54

      RG.... Pucks can fly up to 80km/h... Please, let me see you deflect that. People are stopped from walking back to their seats because it interferes with others viewig the game. You're obviously not as smart as you think you are. And you're quite rude.

    • Nic
      April 13, 2014 - 12:07

      The best thing about being at a live hockey game is watching the entire game. You are not limited to seeing what the camera shows you. There was a play away from the puck that had caught some attention when the puck bounced up off of the ice. I was sitting just a few seats away and my focus was not on the puck either. Don't blame the (lack of) glass? Sure, but don't blame the girl for not paying attention. She was looking in the same direction as everybody else in the section was. Accidents happen.

    • VW
      April 13, 2014 - 13:18

      This is my sister, RG. She has been raised in a hockey rink, she knows what she is supposed to do during a hockey game. But obviously the rink should take some blame for this accident, if that glass had of been fixed this wouldn't have happened. Although she could sue the rink, which she isn't doing, they are at fault here. The topic of this article is to discuss athletics, in no way is the topic of this article "Who's to blame". But thanks for your horrible comment during a difficult time in my young sister's life.

    • You're Joking Right?
      April 13, 2014 - 13:59

      You're joking right RG? You just posted this comment to get a reaction out of people right? Please tell me i'm right. If you're not joking then I have to say that this may be the most ridiculous comment I have ever read on this site.

    • Kent Hunter-Duvar
      April 13, 2014 - 14:03

      Seriously. You're reflexes are that good. Do you also blame girls who get raped because of the way they dressed? The prime liability here, is the arena for allowing a game without ALL safety barriers in place.

    • Jim Absurd
      April 13, 2014 - 15:17

      RG'S comment shows why it is very important not to play hockey without a helmet or always wear a motorcycle helmet otherwise you will end up writing comments like RG's. No one wants to do that.

  • Shirley
    April 13, 2014 - 08:46

    This is terrible to happen and would be so painful all the best for a full recovery Brynn so you can go back on the ice at months end.

  • jamie
    April 13, 2014 - 08:03

    I smell a lawsuit coming out of this, and rightly so. You cannot expect to go to an entertainment venue like this and have your eyesight damaged for life like this. This could sink the local franchise or even the QMJHL or the owner of the rink (the City of Charlottetown) financially. And all because they invited an innocent spectator in to a facility where this danger was not apparent.

    • Hawkins
      April 13, 2014 - 09:34

      Unfortunately , this has already been tested in court numerous times. There is an inherent risk that one takes when you are in the stands at a hockey game.

    • White Juan
      April 13, 2014 - 10:33

      It says right on the back of the ticket that by going into the centre, you're accepting all risks involved with attending the hockey game.

    • Sunnyroadz
      April 13, 2014 - 13:13

      There is an inherent risk but in this incident the rink didn't take all the reasonable necessary actions to make sure spectators were protected. If there was a piece of glass missing that allowed this to happen then this is definitely negligence. The rink should never have allowed the game to happen with a piece of glass missing and you can bet I would be starting a law suit if I suffered permanent eye damage because of a poor decision by Civic Center staff or the Islanders organization

  • Cb
    April 13, 2014 - 07:22

    I really feel like the glass is way too low for people on the stands at eastlink center... We were there with two of our kids and it felt really unsafe.

  • keep your eye on the puck
    April 13, 2014 - 07:21

    Thats Hockey

    • LOL you're kidding right
      April 13, 2014 - 20:26

      If a play is taking place at the opposite end of the rink and she watches, she watches. She's going to watch the most stimulating part of the game, whether or not the puck is there. The fact that people are saying this is HER FAULT is absolute bull. Get some damn glass up because its Eastlink Centers fault. Not hers. What the heck is with society blaming the victim for everything??? Grow up people.