Clint Malarchuk almost bled to death when his throat was cut on the ice and then he tried to kill himself twice… shocking tale of survivor of sport’s most gruesome injury
As he knelt next to the goal clutching his slit throat, while blood pulsed out like a fountain and pooled around him, all Clint Malarchuk could think of was to get off live TV so that his mum did not have to watch him die.
The footage remains on YouTube of the extraordinary incident precisely 26 years ago on Sunday when the then 27-year-old ice hockey goaltender suffered one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen in professional sport.
His throat cut by a stray skate, he survived thanks to his team’s trainer reaching into his neck to pinch shut the severed artery that would later need 300 stitches.
But the traumatic accident led to a spiral of nightmares, insomnia, chronic depression and alcoholism. Twice he tried to kill himself, with the bullet from one attempt still lodged next to his right eye, and only now feels he can cope with his demons thanks to the love of his fourth wife.
Malarchuk was playing for Buffalo Sabres in the NHL against St Louis Blues, when the freak accident left him fighting for his life. Amid shocking, gory scenes, Malarchuk tried and failed to get to his feet, as three pints of blood spilled on to the ice.
‘Once I realised this could be death, my first thought was “get off the ice, go through the gate, get off camera”,’ Malarchuk told The Mail on Sunday. ‘So my mum didn’t have to watch me die.’
Malarchuk’s mother, Jean, both of whose own parents were English, always watched her son’s matches live on TV.