Vermont backup goaltender Matt Hanson is recovering in a Vermont hospital after a scary injury during last Thursday’s practice.
Hanson, according to Vermont school doctor Jon Porter, broke the fourth cervical vertebrae in his neck and had surgery Friday night to stabilize it. Hanson appears to have escaped any lasting paralysis.
“He is currently in stable condition, and he has normal neurological function,” said Dr. Porter.
Hanson remains in Fletcher Allen Health Care, where his parents and family are with him.
Hanson was injured during a one-on-one drill, according to the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. Hanson left the crease to take the puck away from his onrushing teammate, and dove head first, only to collide with the teammate’s knee. Hanson lay face-down on the ice for several minutes before being transported to the hospital.
“Matt was in a potentially dangerous situation after the incident, and the athletic trainers who treated him on the ice did everything perfectly, and we are most grateful,” said Bob and Diane Hanson, his parents, in a statement. “Everyone from UVM has been so caring and supportive, from Dr. Porter to the athletic trainers to the coaching staff to the players to the administrators and staff.
“We just want to thank everyone for their support and good wishes, and we want to let people know that Matt is going to be OK.”
The hockey community rallied in moral support of Hanson. St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, whose team played Vermont on Saturday night in Canton, N.Y., spoke the Catamount players in the locker room after the game. According to Hanson’s parents, Bob and Diane, other ECAC and Hockey East coaches called, as well as former teammates and coaches, and Travis Roy, the former Boston University player who remains paralyzed after a spinal cord injury suffered in his first game, October 1995.
“We would like to thank everyone for their prayers, their phone calls, their visits and their support,” said Bob and Diane Hanson. “[Matt] has received wonderful care here at Fletcher Allen, and we expect he will be up and moving on Monday. We plan to bring him home with us to Peabody, Massachusetts on Tuesday, where he will spend a couple of weeks with us resting and recovering before returning to the University of Vermont.”
Hanson, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound sophomore, is 0-2 with an 8.59 goals against average in three games this season for the Catamounts. He played in four games for Vermont last season. Hanson’s brother, Bobby, played for Boston University, and recently appeared in the film “Miracle,” playing the role of Dave Silk.