The Commissioner's Office of the United States Hockey League today issued further information and follow up with respect to the injury suffered by Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Dylan Chanter during a game at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena between the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Saturday evening, October 12th.
After convening with the USHL Executive Committee, USHL Competition Committee, and personnel from both the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders organizations, the following is a statement from USHL President and Commissioner E.T. (Skip) Prince:
"We at the USHL are grateful to report that Dylan Chanter is now back in Dubuque, resting comfortably, after being released late Saturday evening from the University of Iowa Hospitals.
"Mr. Chanter's medical care was rendered professionally and expertly from the moment of the injury by a series of medical providers, who I would like to thank on behalf of the League: by the trainers of both teams and the supervising physician present at the game (per USHL rules); by medical personnel at UnityPoint Health/St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, where he was transported by ambulance; and finally at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, where he was airlifted in order to be examined by appropriate specialists. The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders organization was in full compliance with USHL medical care regulations promulgated two years ago as part of our revised and upgraded Tier 1 standards to address emergency situations such as this one.
"We will continue to monitor Dylan's progress toward full recovery, together with all necessary medical care. League and USA Hockey policies with respect to head trauma and concussion injuries mandate that the player indicate no residual symptoms for an appropriate period of time before he is allowed to return to action, and we will follow those policies conservatively.
"We want to face squarely the questions that have arisen as to the circumstances that caused the injury - that is, that Mr. Chanter and a Cedar Rapids player were engaged in a short altercation, with the injury occurring when both players fell and Mr. Chanter's head hit the ice. The injury was the accidental and unintended outcome of an infraction that resulted in a fighting major penalty to both players.
"Still, it raises the question as to whether those penalties should have been, or should in the future be made, even more severe in order to curtail them from occurring.
"The USHL, working with USA Hockey and the National Hockey League, implemented a comprehensive Player Safety Initiative commencing with the 2012-13 season. That initiative was designed to reduce dangerous play in a number of areas, including but not limited to fighting. The series of new rules and procedures called for, among other matters, active intervention by on-ice officials when dangerous play occurred on the ice; League video review of all "dangerous play" penalties, including altercations; and progressively increasing discipline, including multiple game suspensions, for recidivist behavior by players. They included a requirement that players not remove their helmets (or any other equipment) on the ice for any reason – a rule designed to protect the players' head, neck, and other vulnerable areas. While neither player removed his helmet last night, Mr. Chanter's had been dislodged during the altercation, thus adding to the seriousness of the injury when he fell to the ice. To that extent, the rule did not protect the player in this instance.
"I have asked the USHL Competition Committee, made up of owners and general managers, to work with the League's Hockey Operations Senior Advisor, its Director, and USA Hockey to both investigate this incident, and our rules, to determine how to further reduce dangerous play generally, and this type of incident in particular. Fights occur more rarely in the USHL than any other top tier property – our average number of fights per game this season hovers between .42 and .45 fights per game (in other words, an average of about one fight every two and a half games). However, that statistic is of little solace when an injury occurs to one of our players, all of whom have significant hockey futures in NCAA Division I hockey and many of whom progress to the NHL and professional hockey.
"Finally, questions have been raised as to the status of the suspended game. Communication with the coaches, senior management and ownership of the teams resulted in an almost immediate conclusion that to continue play after the very distressing events that occurred on the ice would have been unfair to the players and the fans, and simply in poor taste. The decision to suspend the proceedings was unequivocal. We will work with the ownership and management of Dubuque and Cedar Rapids to find a time and date to continue the game to its conclusion. The RoughRiders organization has already indicated it will honor all tickets to Saturday night's event for that makeup game or they can be used as a voucher for another home game this season.
"What occurred Saturday night was a rare and traumatic event for all concerned. It was handled professionally by a series of expert responders, but we are aware that circumstances could have been even more serious, and we will take advantage of our comparatively good fortune to address the issues raised. In the meantime, we all look forward to Mr. Chanter's recovery.”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)