Clint Malarchuk

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Position Goaltender
Caught Left
ft 1 in (1.85 m)
185 lb (84 kg)
Pro Clubs Quebec Nordiques
Washington Capitals
Buffalo Sabres
Nationality Flag of Canada Canada
Born May 1, 1961,
Grande Prairie, AB, CAN
NHL Draft 74th overall, 1981
Quebec Nordiques
Pro Career 1981 – 1996

Clint Malarchuk (May 1, 1961, Grande Prairie, Alberta) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the NHL between 1981 and 1992. He is probably best known for an injury sustained during one of the most horrific in-game incidents in sports history.


[edit] Playing career

Malarchuk played for the Québec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and Buffalo Sabres throughout his career. He was a very competent goalie, with a career record of 141 wins, 130 losses, 45 ties, 12 shutouts, and a 0.885 save percentage.

[edit] Devastating throat injury

The notable incident occurred during a game on March 22, 1989 between the visiting St. Louis Blues and Malarchuk's Buffalo Sabres. Steve Tuttle of the Blues and Uwe Krupp of the Sabres collided at the mouth of the goal, and Tuttle's skate caught Malarchuk on the neck, slicing open his external carotid artery. With pools of blood collecting on the ice, Malarchuk somehow left the ice under his own power with the assistance of his team's trainer, Jim Pizzutelli. Many spectators were physically sickened by the sight with seven fainting and two suffering heart attacks while two teammates vomited on the ice. [1] [2] Local television cameras covering the game instantly cut away from the sight of Malarchuk.

Malarchuk, meanwhile, had only two thoughts: He was going to die, and he had to do it the right way. "All I wanted to do was get off the ice," says Malarchuk, now the goaltenders coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets. "My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn't want her to see me die."[citation needed]

What saved Malarchuk's life—more accurately, who—was Jim Pizzutelli, the team's trainer and a former Army medic who served in Vietnam. He reached into Malarchuk's neck and pinched off the bleeding, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin suturing the wound. Still, Malarchuk came within minutes of becoming only the second on-ice fatality in NHL history (the first, and thus far only, was Bill Masterton).

Amazingly, he returned to practice 4 days later. And a week after that, he was back between the pipes against the Quebec Nordiques. "Doctors told me to take the rest of the year off, but there was no way," Malarchuk says. "The longer you wait, the harder it's going to be. I play for keeps."

Malarchuk spent only one night in the hospital, and was back on the ice with his team two weeks later. However, his performance declined over the next few years, to the point that Malarchuk left the NHL. After leaving the NHL, Malarchuk struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (as he had since a young age) and alcoholism[3], but he eventually returned to hockey, in the International Hockey League. After retiring as a player, Malarchuk continued his hockey career as a coach.

After Malarchuk's injury, the NHL instituted a policy requiring all goalies to wear neck protection.

[edit] Coaching career

  • Clint Malarchuk was signed as the goaltending coach for the 2006-2007 season by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "The 10 Spot: September 16, 2005",
  2. ^ Video of Malarchuk injury at (Warning: Graphic)
  3. ^ Knisley, Michael. "The Biggest Save", The Sporting News, March 6, 1995.

[edit] External links

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