The RDC hockey Kings will be minus the services of key defenceman and team leader Blair Mulder for the remainder of the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League season.
But considering the circumstances, the timing of his return to the Kings is secondary to the concern for his overall health moving forward.
Mulder, a Lacombe native and third-year Kings rearguard, was involved in a snowmobile accident near Ponoka during the weekend and was transported to the University of Alberta hospital with severe injuries.
“He’s at the U of A now and they’re keeping him there until at least Wednesday (today),” Kings head coach Trevor Keeper said Tuesday. “He has a small fracture on his skull, kind of on the side of his head, and a fractured jaw. He didn’t require surgery but he’s pretty beat up. He was unconscious for 15 minutes (following the accident). He was brought into Red Deer and then taken right away to the U of A.
“He’s up and talking now, although I guess he wasn’t able to talk or do much on Sunday. His parents were up there and were obviously pretty concerned about him.”
On a positive note, the 23-year-old appeared to be improving Monday.
“Some of the guys (Kings teammates) went up and saw him yesterday,” said Keeper. “I cancelled practice and they drove up. He was sitting up and drinking fluids and was talking a bit.
“He’ll be laid up for a bit and I would suspect that we’ve lost him for the year because of the severity of his head injury.”
Not that the Kings bench boss is concerning himself with the basic certainty that Mulder won’t be playing again this season.
“The first thing is we’re concerned about him, and he’s worried about school,” said Keeper.
“We’re trying to take care of that right now, we’re trying to find any provisions that we can for him so he doesn’t have to worry about the stress of that.
“But hockey is definitely a distance thought right now.”
As Keeper noted, the third-year electrical engineering student has advantages as he strives to regain his health — most notable being his age and the fact he’s an athlete.
“No question, people in his situation can recover quickly, so hopefully that’s the case with Blair,” said Keeper.
“Doctors thought there was a bit of swelling and hemorrhaging on the brain. They think he’ll be all right but he’s being kept under surveillance.
“He’s pretty groggy and out of it still.”
Mulder, according to the Kings coach, is due to graduate with his diploma this year and was considering enrolling in another technical trade course next fall and playing a fourth season with the hockey team.
He’ll be missed for the remainder of the current campaign.
“He’s a significant loss, not just because of his defensive capabilities, but he’s an assistant captain and a third-year player,” said Keeper.
“But, for sure, there’s a lot more important things than just trying to get back to the rink. Our thoughts are with him and hopefully he can have a quick recovery.”