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  • U.S. Hockey Player Taken to Hospital After Hit to the Head


    (ATR) Oliver Wahlstrom of the United States hockey team was taken to a Lillehammer hospital following a hit by Russian opponent Andrei Svechnikov.

    Wahlstrom receives medical care after the hit (ATR)
    The hit occurred during a preliminary round Youth Olympics hockey game between the United States and Russia at the Youth Hall hockey venue in Lillehammer. 

    Wahlstrom lay on the ice while receiving medical treatment following the hard hit which happened 15 seconds into the second period. The 15-year-old forward was removed on a stretcher.

    A checking to the head and neck match penalty was issued to Svechnikov.

    A USA Hockey official said there were positive signs – that Wahlstrom was squeezing hands and moving.

    “At this point, the initial things sounded positive,” said U.S. head coach Scott Paluch after the game.

    “I didn’t see the hit, but obviously when any player goes down like that, you’re looking for positive signs,” Paluch said. “The care that he has gotten immediately was tremendous.”

    U.S. coach Scott Paluch (2nd from left) hears from venue medical staff (ATR)
    “We’ll have our medical staff, Dr. Lee and our trainer – they’ve been talking to all,” Paluch said. “Hopefully, we’ll see him soon. We’ll wait for the experts and pros to tell us what the next step is.”

    The hit near the corner boards of the U.S. defensive zone happened with the U.S. leading their Russian opponents 2-0. Team USA won the game 4-2.

    “I was right next to him on the ice and it didn’t seem like a bad hit at first,” said U.S. captain Matthias Samuelsson. “I looked back and I saw him on the ground. I was shocked, scared and worried about him. He’s a good friend.

    “He was moving – I think he’s going to be fine,” Samuelsson said.

    Svechnikov will be suspended from the tournament for at least one more game and possibly more after officials review the play.

    Russian head coach Yevgeni Filinov addressed the hit and subsequent game misconduct penalty that Svechnikov received.

    The teams shake hands after the game. (ATR)
    “It is a great loss for both teams because no matter that he is our opponent, he is still a hockey player and it is always unpleasant when someone gets injured,” Filinov said through a translator. “We are not yet sure if it a clean shot or not because we didn’t see the video and then we can decide.”

    Wahlstrom is from Yarmouth, Maine and is committed to play collegiate hockey at Harvard University. He has been one of the top offensive producers for Team USA, contributing a hat trick in the team’s 8-0 win over Norway.

    The U.S. and Russia will play again tomorrow in a semi-final contest. The Youth Olympic Games gold medal game is on Sunday, Feb. 21.

    Written by Brian Pinelli in Lillehammer.

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