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Windsor Goalie Walks Off Ice Mid Game

A goaltender for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires shocked the junior hockey world this week by leaving the ice in the middle of a playoff game, walking out the door of the arena and never looking back.

Dalen Kuchmey had given up eight goals on 26 shots. Earlier in the game, after the sixth goal went in, Kuchmey appeared to make a motion toward the bench that he wanted out.

After the eighth goal, Kuchmey having had enough, pulled himself from the net, went to the dressing room, changed and drove away.

Because of the Terry Trafford death, the OHL, and all hockey teams are taking a different approach these days when dealing with issues that may involve some type of stress or trauma needing professional mental health attention.  The pressures faced by junior hockey players have been under increased scrutiny since the Trafford case, and OHL Commissioner David Branch said he is taking steps to seek advice from health-care professionals before deciding on any policy or protocols.

“We acknowledge that, given the terrible circumstances surrounding Terry’s taking his life, we are looking at how we address any number of things around our players and how we can better support their needs,”  Said Branch “It’s about how do we help this young person.”

In a post game press conference, Coach Bob Boughner reacted hotly at first, saying the player “quit on our team and he quit on his teammates.”

Boughner later sent a statement through the team, saying “emotions were high and I should have chosen my words more carefully. Having spent my career in hockey, playing my fair share of challenging games and coaching under some difficult situations, I would never embarrass a player.”

While Kuchmey has yet to be heard from, the league, team and his family are trying to figure out just what happened and how to help keep it from happening again.

Joe Hughes

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