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8 Jan, 2022 09:35

Teen dies after neck is sliced open by skate during hockey match

The NHL has been among the groups paying tribute to the tragic hockey star
Teen dies after neck is sliced open by skate during hockey match

Tributes have been paid to high school hockey player Teddy Balkind, who has been described as an "amazing young man" after he died in Connecticut following a horrific accident during a match.

Tenth grader Teddy Balkind was fatally injured during a private-school game at St Luke’s School in New Canaan after he fell to the ice and was sliced through the neck by another player's skate.

The teenager was rushed to Greenwich Hospital, where medics were unable to save him. Balkind's father is said to have been watching the game between the local all-boys college prep Brunswick School and the private co-ed St Luke’s.

Students and their families gathered outside St Luke's to mourn Balkind on Friday, with one 18-year-old describing the situation as "horrible" and "really bad" to CBS 2.

In a statement seen by the outlet, the school said: “Yesterday, we lost a precious young man in a tragic accident.

“Both St Luke’s School and Brunswick School are in shock as we work to support our students and families. St Luke’s singular focus at this moment is to care for our devastated community.”

A camp where Balkind had been a captain called him a "fearless, beautiful soul who was full of life and a friend to all."

"He had an infectious, positive personality which quickly spread to others in all aspects of [camp] life," it said.

"Teddy led by example, was a mentor to our younger campers and was just an amazing young man."

An NHL statement said Balkind had been "lost too soon". "Our prayers and most heartfelt condolences go out to his family, his St Luke's teammates and his many friends," it added.

"Losing a young player in the game of hockey is unimaginable," said a statement from the New Jersey Devils. "We are saddened to learn of this very tragic event."

Former youth hockey coach Ted Curtin said the incident was a freak accident.“Lacerations like that do happen but it is very rare," he said.

"More rare is when it’s anything severe. One of the problems with the neck guards, besides them being so cumbersome, is they didn’t eliminate the risk of lacerations and sometimes the skate would hit the neck guard and move to another part of the neck and still penetrate... so these aren’t flawless."

The Brunswick School said: “Tragedies such as this are hard to process and impossible to understand.

"We will do all we can in the coming days and weeks to help and support those in our community and in the St Luke’s community.”