BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Hershey Bears player Aaron Ness, a 28-year-old defenseman from Bemidji, Minnesota, and a former second-round pick by the Islanders (in 2008) has been taken off the ice on a stretcher after crashing into the goalpost and then the backboards midway through the third period of the Bears’ playoff game Friday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the Islanders.
The incident occurred at 8:58 of the third period in the opening game of the AHL playoffs for the teams at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ness was racing up ice to create a two-on-one rush against Islanders goaltender Christopher Gibson when he was bumped from behind by Sound Tigers forward Travis St. Denis. The bump knocked Ness off his skates and he slid, feet first, into the left goalpost, then bounced off and hit the backboards. The back of his head appeared to hit the boards and Ness ended up lying face first on the ice, motionless.
St. Denis was sent to the penalty box, while both teams’ athletic trainers and EMTs attended to Ness. After several minutes, during which Ness never moved, a stretcher was brought out onto the ice, Ness was rolled over onto his back, and then lifted onto the stretcher.
The Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, were leading the Sound Tigers, 2-1 at the time of the injury.
Ness played in a total of 29 games with the Islanders in parts of two seasons. He also played in 10 games for the Capitals 2016-17 and 2017-18.