Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ defenceman Malik Kaila’s BC Hockey League career is over, after a season-ending check last Wednesday left him with broken vertebrae in his neck.
Kaila, 20, was checked into the boards on Dec. 14 in a road game against Cowichan Capitals. After spending a few nights in hospital he is resting at home with his family in Vancouver, Bulldogs’ head coach Kevin Willison said.
Kaila was injured at the 5:04 minute mark of the second period.
“It was a finished check,” Willison said. Cowichan Capitals’ Ayden MacDonald checked Kaila, who was about five feet from the boards.
Kaila suffered fractures of his C6 and C7 vertebrae, located at the bottom part of the neck near the shoulders.
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Bulldogs’ trainer JT Ward got Kaila onto a backboard and braced his neck before the player was taken to hospital in Duncan by ambulance. He spent two nights in Cowichan and was transferred to a hospital in Victoria for an MRI, Willison said.
“I’ve talked to his family,” Willison said.
“He’s doing really well, he’s up and walking.”
Kaila will have to spend 12 weeks in a neck brace and will undergo rehab after that.
MacDonald received a five-minute major penalty for a hit to the head as well as a game misconduct. A penalty like this typically calls for a longer suspension, although nothing was confirmed by the AV News’ press time.
The Bulldogs are on Christmas break now and return to the ice Jan. 4 when they host Cowichan.