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Hockey team effort major in save life of teammate

Nineteen recreational hockey players were honoured at a city council meeting this week for the way they responded to a potentially fatal heart attack suffered by a fellow player at a west end rink.
The men used a public access defibrillator in the West End Community Centre to deliver a shock that probably saved the life of a 32-year Guelph Police Service veteran, Staff Sgt. David Miller, council was told. Miller was among the group of police and city residents playing a friendly game of hockey on Jan. 9 at about 10:30 p.m. when he suddenly collapsed onto the ice unconscious.
“Remembering their CPR training and aware of their surroundings, the team members assessed their fellow teammate and friend and determined that he was without any vital signs,” said Shawn Armstrong, the city’s fire chief.
“They worked together to begin CPR and to call 911. They worked together to help their friend like the true team they were.”
One of two defibrillators that are accessible to the public at the West End Community Centre was quickly retrieved, while other team members called 911 and physically ran over to the attached fire station. Others made sure that easy access to the patient was maintained.
They delivered a shock from the defibrillator, which “was effective in causing his rapidly fading irregular heart to start beating properly again, and the patient regained a pulse,” said Armstrong.
Firefighters and paramedics got to the scene soon afterwards. Miller regained consciousness shortly after arriving at hospital. He’s now recovering from the heart attack.
Armstrong read out the names of the 19 men being honoured, who were applauded as they rose to their feet in the city council gallery. They are: Dan Mackenzie, Ange Tassone, Frank Tassone, Mike Guerin, Ange Marcato, Joe Figliuzzi, Jon Green, Tony Capaldi, Mark Gazzola, Matt Jotham, Gino Santi, Paul Matteis, Trevor Kurtz, Darryl Keats, Sheldon Butts, John Garaffa, Bruno Muzzi, Matt Borghese and Steve Gill.
Heart and Stroke Foundation statistics indicate as many as 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada, and without rapid and appropriate treatment most of them will result in death, Armstrong said.
The City of Guelph and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are partners in a program to place more defibrillators and provide a sustained supply of them in various spots across Guelph, including public arenas, he noted.
A representative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation was at Monday’s meeting to donate four of the devices to the city in honour of the occasion.
Noting that February is Heart Month, Mayor Karen Farbridge said it would be a good time for Guelph residents to improve their life-saving skills.

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