It was a scary scene as players huddled around the Tulsa Oilers bench Friday night.

First responders, doctors, players and staff from both teams watched as Tulsa head coach Rob Murray received medical attention after collapsing in the second period of the Oilers' game against the Quad-City Mallards at the TaxSlayer Center.

Murray was transported to Trinity West in Rock Island to receive overnight care.

At 10:49 p.m., Oilers vice president of communications and play by play announcer John Peterson tweeted out, "Update on Coach Murray: He's doing well. The doctors have told me he's suffering from dehydration and exhaustion. They said there's no concern right now. Tests are coming back. I will continue to update. Thank you for all the thought, prayers and positive vibes."

According to Dr. Matt McKay, an emergency doctor at Trinity who was one of those tending to the 50-year-old Murray on the bench, the Tulsa head coach was awake and talking by the time the first responders reached him.

After a delay of over 10 minutes, Murray was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He was moving and holding his right hand over his face.

The game itself, in which Tulsa led the Mallards 2-1 with 12 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second period, was postponed until a later date. Tickets to Friday's game will be honored when a date is determined.

Tulsa captain Adam Pleskach was on the bench when Murray collapsed and made sure play was stopped so he could be tended to.

"He was just on the ground and (we) knew something wasn't right so we had the linesman blow the whistle so we could get attention as fast as we could," Pleskach said. "I didn't see when he fell, I just saw when we were trying to help him up and knew something wasn't right. It wasn't just that he slipped and fell; it was something else. We were all really worried and shaken up, but he's a really good guy, and he's a good coach.

"At the time, it's not something you see every day, and it's not something you want to see, and you're not sure how serious it is at the time. Right now we're just praying that he's going to be OK, and I think he is going to be OK."

Mallards head coach Phil Axtell didn't realize something was wrong until he noticed the Oilers players waving over medical personnel. 

"I looked over and (athletic trainer Steve Lintern) was holding him," Axtell said. "Thoughts and prayers to Coach Murray and everyone in his organization."

Murray, who played 16 years professionally, is in his first year with Tulsa after six seasons coaching the Alaska Aces, winning a Kelly Cup in 2013.

"He's meant a lot," Pleskach said. "He's really shaking up, really a different culture than it's been the last couple of years. Guys really rally around him. He's a really good guy to have around. He builds guys up so that's why we're just beside him through this thing."

The Oilers are currently just four games into a 14-game road trip and were scheduled to play in Indianapolis today. The status of that game had not been determined Friday night as the Oilers stayed in a local hotel overnight. The Mallards did not have any indication of when their game against the Oilers would be resumed.

"It's rare that it happens, and hopefully he's good and you move on," Mallards President and General Manager Bob McNamara said. "You play the game at some point, and hopefully he's all good and hopefully it was a minor episode and you deal with it."

The incident left players stunned and lost for words, while McNamara was in tears in the immediate aftermath. He was in Grand Rapids when former Detroit defenseman Jiří Fischer went into cardiac arrest while with the Red Wings almost exactly 12 years ago, and the incident Friday hit close to home.

"The first responders were amazing. Genesis Health, they were amazing," he said. "I don't know their names, but it was Genesis."

While all the Oilers remained on the ice while Murray was receiving attention, the Mallards went into the locker room, with the exception of Tristan King and Jacob Graves.

The team has to refocus for today's game against the Kansas City Mavericks.

"Make sure they're focused and approach (today) like it's another game," Axtell said. "We're pretty beat up (and shaken up). It's never good to see anyone in that state."

2
11
0
0
0

Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times