This past season, defenseman Dennis Wideman checked linesman Don Henderson into the boards from behind during a January game for the Calgary Flames.
Now, six months later, Henderson is still not fully past the incident – at least, from a medical standpoint.
It was reported on Saturday that the official, who sustained a concussion from the hit that held him out for the remainder of the 2015-16 season, has undergone neck surgery due to the injury. The surgery was performed to repair two ruptured discs in his neck.
It’s possible, according to friends of the linesman, that his career officiating on the ice is over for good, ending with 20 years of experience and over 1,300 NHL games officiated.
Wideman received a 20-game suspension from the NHL due to the incident, which occurred following a reportedly sustained concussion for the defenseman as well. Henderson finished officiating the final two periods of the game in which he was injured, although he was knocked into the boards and onto the ice during the incident. He would ultimately be diagnosed with a concussion following the game and held out of the remainder of the season.
Although the NHL upheld the suspension and a neutral party arbitrator then reduced it to just 10 games, the NHL is now suing the NHLPA to vacate the suspension reduction – so the saga is far from over, regardless.
For Henderson, though, the fact that things haven’t gone back to normal yet is likely both frustrating and upsetting.