Just another regular Sunday afternoon pickup game at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex ice. Forty year old Rene Faucher, father of three, chased a puck around the net, and in a blink of an eye, catches his skate in a rut and crashes head first into the boards. He slams his 6 foot 4 inch, 210 pound frame into the boards, crushing three vertebrae in an instant. Today, he is paralyzed from the neck down, and an uncertain future lies ahead for his family: a wife, and three kids all under five years old.
The Ottawa Business Journal once named him one of their Forty Under Forty, for the succeses he had with his software company. Last summer he sold the company as he took time to figure out his next entrepreneurial move. As such, he is self-employed, and without any long-term disability insurance.
We often talk about playing with your head up, being careful not to over-do it during recreational hockey. We heed warnings from the City of Ottawa that tell us to “Get in shape to play hockey” rather than “Play hockey to get in shape”. It is a subtle distinction, but an important one. Every year, recreational players die playing the game they love. Every game, the aging player pushes himself harder than he should.
This story is not about that. This is a story of bad circumstances, bad ice and a lot of bad luck. We’ve all caught ruts in the ice before. A twisted ankle, a bad fall perhaps, but usually nothing serious. We often criticize the Zamboni driver and lament the poor ice conditions he leaves us. This story is about a painful twist of fate.
How You Can Help:
From now until February 7th, Sport Experts will be donating 100% of skate sharpening fees to the Faucher family in an effort to assist them during this difficult time. Local Ottawa radio station Team 1200 has information on their website listing other ways to help the Faucher family as well.
Stay classy, Rene Faucher. Best wishes in your recovery.