DALLAS — Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench Monday during the first period of the team’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Peverley was immediately taken to a hallway behind both benches leading to the Dallas locker room, and he quickly regained consciousness after he was attended to by a team of medical personnel. He later was hospitalized in stable condition, the Stars announced.
The game was postponed after a lengthy delay.
Peverley, 31, had a procedure prior to the season to correct an irregular heartbeat, which forced him to miss training camp and Dallas’ season opener on Oct. 3 against the Florida Panthers. He just finished a shift at 5:50 of the first period moments before he collapsed on the bench.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff immediately knew something was seriously wrong and started yelling for medical attention.
“I was scared,” Ruff said. “My first emotion was we need somebody here real quick. When he dropped, it was red alert, don’t worry about the game, don’t worry about anything else, just turn around and scream for a doctor and that’s all. It was just, ‘Let’s get him the help he needs,’ and they came and got him the help. For me, it was something I don’t want to witness again.”
Once Peverley was in the hallway, the medical team gave him oxygen, administered intravenous fluids, performed chest compressions and defibrillated him, which restored a rhythm to his heart on the first attempt.
Dr. Gil Salazar, part of the team attending to Peverley and a member of the emergency medicine team at UT Southwestern, called the fact Peverley responded so quickly to treatment reassuring.
“What I know so far is he slumped on the bench,” Salazar said. “He was brought back to the hallway for treatment, where we treated him for a cardiac event, successfully treated with standard therapy. As soon as we treated him, he regained consciousness. He was alert and awake talking to us after the event and quickly transported to the hospital. At this point, I was able to talk to him in the back of the ambulance and he was able to tell me where he was and he actually wanted to get back in the game.”
Peverley was transported to UT Southwestern’s St. Paul University Hospital, where he was to undergo additional evaluation.
Right after the collapse, the Dallas players were furiously banging their sticks on the boards trying to get the attention of the on-ice officials to stop the game. The game was halted with 13:37 left in the opening period and the Blue Jackets leading 1-0.
After about 15 minutes, both teams headed to the dressing rooms, and about 15 minutes later, the game was officially postponed.
Ruff said his players were in no condition to resume play.
“There’s nobody in there that wants to play hockey right now, and I think everybody understands that when you’ve witnessed what they had to witness, and that’s their teammate,” Ruff said. “And that’s the right place to be. That’s the right emotion to have. They’re not doing very good, and I wouldn’t expect them to be.”
The Blue Jackets understood the thinking behind the postponement.
“They’re shaken and they want to reschedule. We understand that,” Columbus president of hockey operations John Davidson told Fox Sports Ohio. “They were shaken to the core.”
The NHL issued a statement apologized for the inconvenience the postponement caused to the fans.
Peverley missed a trip to Columbus, Ohio, last week with what was initially termed an upper-body injury. However, when asked about that injury after the morning skate last Thursday, Ruff confirmed that Peverley’s absence was related to his previous heart condition.
The Stars, who play the Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday, departed at approximately 10:45 p.m.
The Blue Jackets were due to return home for a Tuesday game against the Detroit Red Wings.