Out of all the names of guys who are playing in the Olympics this year without NHL players competing, Wojtek Wolski is probably one of the more familiar. He may not be a former Stanley Cup champion like Brian Gionta but he was a 1st round draft pick and played a few full seasons with the Avalanche. Then bumped around from the Coyotes to the Rangers to the Panthers to the Capitals before finally taking his game to the KHL in the 2013-14 season. And it was in the KHL last season that this happened..
***Quick Disclaimer: obviously this injury video is going to be a little graphic considering he broke his neck. However, as you can obviously tell by the goal above, Wolski was able to recover***
Just a horrific freak injury here. Athletes in general, but especially hockey players, are always putting their bodies on the line in order to make a play. They don’t even think twice about it. 3rd period of a regular season KHL game, Wojtek Wolski saw a loose puck in his own zone and his competitive instincts told him to dive for the puck. He didn’t think about what would happen if he ended up diving head first into the boards, he just wanted to get the puck out of his zone. Then the worst case scenario plays out and he ends up fracturing two vertebrae and suffered spinal cord trauma. You’d figure that at 30-years-old, after already playing in the NHL and spending the last few seasons in the KHL, maybe that would do it for Wojtek Wolski’s career.
But less than a year after the injury he was back out on the ice and now 16 months after the injury, he’s scoring goals at the Winter Olympics. Hockey Tough as a mother hecker right there. Obviously we’d love to see NHL guys out there. But I’d rather watch Wojtek Wolski score a million goals at the Olympics than have to watch Sidney Crosby ever take another Olympic shift ever again. So for the first time ever, I’m going to say this sincerely. Thanks, Bettman.