On this day (April 11th) back in 1989, Ron Hextall, playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, became the first goalie to score a goal during the playoffs. The Flyers have a storied history, boasting some of the toughest players in the game. How tough? This tough:
An NHL hockey puck had to be carted off the ice during last Friday’s game between the Flyers and Sabres after taking an Ian Laperriere directly to the face.
Laperriere needed 50 to 100 stitches after the first period hit and lost seven of his teeth, but returned later in the game while the puck was rushed to a local hospital and could miss the rest of the season.
That’s an actual hockey story from 2009. From what we hear, the hockey puck has since retired and spends time giving tours at NHL headquarters.
Hockey’s a fun sport, full of speed, skill, and action. It can also be murder on your teeth. As Jason Sapunka of Bleacher Report says, “One of the tolls of playing the toughest sport in the world is the constant loss of teeth that results in some of the most frightening smiles humans can have.”
Losing teeth is considered part of the sport at the pro level. After checking a puck with his mouth (and losing four teeth for his trouble), Jonathan Cheechoo of the San Jose Sharks said, “You’re not surprised when you lose them, but this was my first time. I guess it’s nice to have kept them as long as I did.”
If you’re not playing with the pros, there’s no reason hockey needs to leave you with a smile that makes people think of abandoned buildings on the bad side of town. Wearing the proper gear, including a mask, can protect your face from pucks, sticks, skulls and elbows which often go crashing about. And don’t overlook skates. One awkward fall on an opponent’s foot and you could need stitches in your lip!
You should also talk to a childrens dentist about the right type of mouthguard to best protect your smile especially if your league does not allow masks.