UNIONDALE, N.Y. - New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan missed the first period of Monday's game against the San Jose Sharks following the sudden death of junior hockey player Mickey Renaud, a teammate of Nolan's son.
Nolan spent the first part of the Islanders' 3-2 victory talking on the phone with his son, Jordan, and was back behind the bench for the second period and the remainder of the game.
"He was my son's teammate and good friend, and it was tragic," Nolan said. "I just spent some time with (my son). Sometimes there's a lot more important things to me than a hockey game."
Renaud, a 19-year-old centre and the captain of the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires, died Monday after collapsing at his home, the team said.
A fifth-round draft pick by the NHL's Calgary Flames, Renaud was taken to a hospital with no vital signs and attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful, team physician Dr. Roy Diklich said.
Renaud was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Windsor Regional Hospital, the team said on its website. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday, police said.
Nolan came out of the tunnel with the Islanders for the start of the second period. He patted players on the back after taking his usual position behind New York's bench.
The game was scoreless through 20 minutes, but San Jose took a 1-0 lead just 2:35 into the second on Marcel Goc's fifth goal this season. The Islanders rallied to win by scoring three times in the third period.