Protective netting should be in all arenas: Quebec coroner after hockey puck death

The death of a 12-year-old girl after she was struck by a hockey puck has prompted a Quebec coroner to ask the province to study the possibility of installing protective nets in all arenas.

The accident occurred April 1, 2017, while Annie Alaku-Papigatuk was watching a hockey game in Salluit, a community in northern Nunavik.

She was sitting in the second row around the middle of the rink where there was no protective net when a puck struck her in the head near her right eyebrow.

A report by coroner Steeve Poisson says the young girl started crying, but did not lose consciousness. The girl said she was OK and able to walk and an adult who was with her applied a snow-filled bag to her head.

Alaku-Papigatuk was accompanied home where she later complained of a headache and started to vomit.

The following morning, her father noticed she wasn't breathing and took her to the local health centre where medical personnel tried unsuccessfully to revive her.

The death of a 12-year-old girl after she was struck by a hockey puck has prompted a Quebec coroner to ask the province to study the possibility of installing protective nets in all arenas.

The accident occurred April 1, 2017, while Annie Alaku-Papigatuk was watching a hockey game in Salluit, a community in northern Nunavik.

She was sitting in the second row around the middle of the rink where there was no protective net when a puck struck her in the head near her right eyebrow.

A report by coroner Steeve Poisson says the young girl started crying, but did not lose consciousness. The girl said she was OK and able to walk and an adult who was with her applied a snow-filled bag to her head.

Alaku-Papigatuk was accompanied home where she later complained of a headache and started to vomit.

The following morning, her father noticed she wasn't breathing and took her to the local health centre where medical personnel tried unsuccessfully to revive her.

If a new rule makes protective netting mandatory around the entire perimeter of the 

Pointe-Claire Arena supervisor Jamie Gammon tells CJAD 800 News mandatory safety nets along the sides of the rink would change the spectator experience, but admits he does worry about fan safety.

“We have a few incidents when it came close,” he said. “I can’t see any harm coming from [a new law], but it just loses that ambiance that it has when you have an open concept like that.”

The rink made adjustments to the existing netting in 2016 in order to better protect fans walking on the stairs.

"We actually extended it throughout the whole corner to protect people walking down the stairs and further out," he said.

Gammon says spectators are at the most risk when they are focused on their feet, not what’s happening on the ice.

 

With files from CJAD 800 Reporter Matthew Gilmour