In a match on Saturday night, Calgary Flames player James Neal was hit by a hockey stick, losing some teeth in the process, according to USA Today
It was a painful weekend for one NHL star.
In a match on Saturday night, Calgary Flames player James Neal was hit by a hockey stick, losing some teeth in the process, according to USA Today.
A video on Twitter was released that showed Neal, 31, being accidentally struck in the mouth by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Biega — who was swatting at an airborne puck — and his teeth are visibly seen falling to the ice.
According to USA Today, an official picked up at least two teeth from the ice after the incident while Neal sought medical treatment. The teeth, Sports Illustrated reported, are luckily fake.
As a result, Biega was given a four-minute penalty, but the Canucks managed to pull out a 4-3 victory over the Flames after a shootout.
Flames Head Coach Bill Peters later spoke about the cringe-inducing incident with reporters postgame.
“That’s why there are dentists, right?” Peters said. “I think for every tooth he lost I got a minor [penalty], so double minor, two teeth.”
While Neal’s incident may seem abnormal, losing teeth is actually “a part of the game,” several hockey players told the NHL back in 2016.
In fact, the one thing that San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns leaves behind for away games is his cosmetic teeth.
“I don’t wear them often,” Burns told Larry Large. “I usually find them in a drawer a couple months down the road and put them somewhere safe, forget where that is, and find them a couple months later.”
According to the article, when players are hit in the mouth, they are provided with professional treatment from a dentist or even an oral surgeon.
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“An oral surgeon who can also do plastic surgery is ideal,” said NHL Hall of Famer Chris Pronger. “I had a nice set of teeth. Now, I’ve got new ones. And, I broke my jaw and you probably can’t tell I had 50 stitches here and 27 there.”