It finally happened - Brian McGrattan, the Calgary Flames former tough guy was taken off the ice last night on a stretcher. And it wasn't pretty. McGrattan took on Daniel Maggio last night during the middle period of the game between the San Diego Gulls vs. the San Antonio Rampage.
As always, the fight started out like every other McGrattan tilt, but it ended when Big Ern took one punch that laid him out face-first on the ice. I think all McGrattan fans, past and present, held their collective breath while waiting to see if he was alright.
Luckily, the San Diego Gulls sent out a tweet during the game saying that Big Ern was "alert and has full movement."
INJURY UPDATE: Brian McGrattan is conscious, alert and has full movement.— San Diego Gulls (@SDGullsAHL) January 20, 2016
Brian McGrattan was a beloved forward for the Calgary Flames for four seasons including the 2009-2010 season when he earned 1 goal and 3 assists in 34 games. He made a comeback from 2012-2015 when he played consistently for the Calgary team before being sent down to the Adirondack Flames and eventually traded to the Anaheim Ducks. His penalty minutes highly out-weighed his goals/assists, but he won the hearts of a lot of Flames fans during his comeback years after being part of the substance abuse program through the NHL.
Today, Brian McGrattan is still involved with the program and has helped many other players deal with their substance abuse issues. Big Ern is the poster boy for being able to move on from dependancy and be successful in life. Just over a year ago, him and his wife welcomed their first child into the world and McGrattan seems to be pretty happy about where he is today, which is probably why his fans have stuck by his side through the years. His positive attitude and willingness to help others overcome their addictions have made a big impact both on and off the ice.
Get well soon, Big Ern!
*I've included a link HERE to more on the story by CBC.ca, but please be warned, the video contains graphic content.