The Brett MacLean story has been followed by Phoenix Coyotes fans and other hockey fans alike. MacLean, 23, suffered a heart attack playing a pick up hockey game with some friends in Canada. ”I remember going to the arena and going on the ice and that’s it,” MacLean said during an interview with TSN. “I guess 40 minutes in I made a pass and just collapsed.” A couple of his friends performed CPR on MacLean until a local firefighter arrived. The firefighter used the arena’s automatic external defibrillator to shock MacLean’s heart until it began beating normally again.
MacLean’s career is over, but he is fortunate to be alive. NHL and KHL fans may remember the tragic incident involving New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov; the 19-year-old had a cardiac arrest and passed away during a KHL game in 2008. “When I was in the hospital, I had a tough time with why this happened to me,” said MacLean in the TSN interview. “I’ve worked hard my whole life and I’ve eaten well and done the right things. But now I look at it like at least I’m still here and at least I’m healthy.”
MacLean was expected to compete for a roster spot this season after scoring 25 goals in the AHL last season. “We still held out some hope that he could help us down the road,” said Coyotes GM Don Maloney. “Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. But the good thing is he’s healthy and he can get on with his life.”
MacLean played 18 NHL games in his career (13 with Phoenix and five with Winnipeg). MacLean scored two goals and five points in his NHL career. MacLean, a star in the AHL, had 99 career goals and 203 career points in 264 AHL games. MacLean was drafted 32nd overall by the Coyotes in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.