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A Wild Story

JR Ewing

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I came across this story about the Wild's athletic trainer, Travis Green, who was struck by a puck on Friday night in Edmonton. Good read.




Travis Green is a name hockey fans would recognize.

He was a 1989 draft pick of the New York Islanders, started his career with the team that drafted him, and eventually went to Anaheim and Toronto twice, Phoenix and Boston. By the time he was done, Green played 970 NHL games. Post-career, he worked his way up to the head coaching job of the Vancouver Canucks. He guided the Canucks to within one win of the Western Conference Final in 2020 before he was let go during the 2021-22 season. 


Now, let me introduce you to another Travis Green in hockey. He is the assistant athletic trainer and massage therapist of the Minnesota Wild. He has been with the team for the last 16 years. His job is to take care of the players, but on Friday night with the Wild taking on the Edmonton Oilers, he was the one who needed to be taken care of. It all started with what seemed to be a harmless cross-ice pass from Evan Bouchard to Philip Broberg just inside the Wild blueline. The puck skipped off Broberg's stick, over the boards and into the opposing team's bench.


"I could see it coming. It was a D-to-D pass," recalls Green. "I just couldn't turn fast enough."


These things happen. In fact, Oilers fans and Jack Campbell will remember versus New Jersey when Dougie Hamilton deflected a puck into the Edmonton bench. It hit Campbell and he suffered a broken nose. It could have been much worse, but luckily, it wasn't. Green wasn't as lucky. The puck hit him below the right eye.

"When I got hit by the puck, it dropped me. I was conscious but there was blood everywhere. I was able to stand up on my own and I went down the tunnel and into our dressing room," he explained. 


Once in the room, he was looked at by the Wild's orthopedic doctor and an emergency doctor. After an initial evaluation, he was taken to the hospital by the Wild's strength and conditioning coach Matt Harder.


"I had a CT scan by the optometrist just to make sure there were no issues or nothing was displaced," explained Green. "Thankfully, there was no surgery necessary and it was determined I could fly home."


Finding a way home was the next problem. Minnesota left Edmonton right after the game for Vancouver and a Saturday night meeting with the Canucks. There was also the possibility of flying commercial. However, that's when the Oilers stepped in, or maybe better put, stepped up to help.

"When someone is hurt, even if it's staff and not a player, we have a meeting after the game," explained T.D. Forss, the long-time head athletic therapist of the Oilers. "During the meeting, it was mentioned we were heading to Minnesota and maybe it would be possible for Green to fly with the team. We all thought it made sense, so I went to Ken (Holland) and asked. He said yes."


After getting the blessing of the Oilers President and GM of Hockey Operations and explaining the plan to Wild head athletic therapist John Worley, Kaite Doyle from Oilers team services reached out to her Wild counterpart to let him know what was happening. At 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, when the Oilers flew to Minnesota, sitting in seat 7D was Green.


"I really can't thank the organization enough. I am so grateful to everyone," said Green. "T.D. picked me up Friday night from the hospital. He brought me some food and gave me a lift to the hotel. He helped me get the necessary medicine on Saturday."


cut.jpeg Green (left) with Oilers Massage Therapist Stephen Lines (right)


"I received a text from Jay Woodcroft just to see how I was feeling. Everyone has treated me so well. Plus flying with the Oilers I know if something goes wrong with my eye there is someone there to help me. I wouldn't have that feeling of comfort on a commercial flight."


As for his eye, the flight went well and the situation is improving. As of Sunday, Green was starting to see some shapes. He will see an eye doctor every day for a week to make sure everything is healing properly. He can't work the game on Monday night between Edmonton and Minnesota, but his plan was to go in, get looked at and then head home. His partner Hillary was there waiting for him when he arrived at the airport. A familiar face and hug always helps. It gives him a chance to recover from a scary incident that came with a heart-warming welcome from the opposing team.


A happy ending to a Wild Story.

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