Stephane Boileau (Terry Charland, Flageol Photo)
Stephane Boileau was pressed into action Friday night when a grisly injury in the North American League required medical attention. Even though he had two points and provided emergency medical care, he was named only the second star of the game.
The Quebec-based North American League (known as the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey or LNAH) has gained a well-deserved reputation over the years as a place where goons go to ply their trade. The league’s fighting leader is a guy by the name of David Lacroix, who has 33 fights in 27 games. That’s more fighting majors than any NHL team has this season. Members of the Laval Predateurs have fought 136 times so far this season, which is almost as many times as the top five teams in the NHL combined. A total of 262 players have played at least one game and almost half of them (126) have been in at least one fight.
Stephane Boileau is not one of those players. The captain of the (get ready for this) Bilizzard Cloutier Nord-Sud Trois-Rivieres is not only the sixth in scoring this season, but he hasn’t been in a single fight in four years of playing in the league. Boileau is completing his fourth year of medicine at the University of Sherbrooke and is preparing for two years of residency before becoming a family and emergency doctor.
Boileau, in fact, got a little on-the-job training over the weekend when a grisly injury in a game against Isothermic Thetford Mines prompted him to leap into action. Keven Veilleux – whom you may remember as a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007 (or as a guy who was suspended 10 games by the ECHL two years ago because of a racial slur) – fell to the ice with about two minutes left in the game Friday night and one of the players on the ice accidentally stepped on his wrist. As Veilleux was being taken to the dressing room, he told his coach to have someone call 911. And the referee in the game, knowing Boileau’s background, skated immediately to the Trois-Rivieres bench to tell Boileau there was a serious injury and that he was needed.
“It was weird,” Boileau said. “I knew it was seriously, but I think what I did was more just calm down the trainer and the player and tell them, ‘This is going to be all right. We’re just going to stop the blood flow and the ambulance will come and you’ll be all right.’ The player was in shock, which is pretty normal when you have a huge cut on your wrist, but I did my best to calm down the blood flow and everything was OK.”
Boileau quickly examined the wrist and asked Veilleux if he could feel Boileau touching his fingers. He then applied as much direct pressure to the cut as he could until the ambulance arrived about five minutes later.
As it turns out, there was no damage to Veilleux’s artery, but there is tendon damage. Veilleux compared the injury to the one suffered by Donald Audette of the Montreal Canadiens in 2001 when Radek Dvorak skated over his wrist. Audette needed surgery to repair the tendons and was out of the lineup for three months, but Boileau said Veilleux may be able to make it back by the playoffs.
Boileau, who had already scored a goal and an assist in the game, joined his team for the last two minutes of the game, which his team won 4-3. Boileau was named second star of the game while Veilleux, who had scored twice in the game himself, was named third star.
Boileau hopes to continue playing in the league through his residency and when he begins practicing medicine, but isn’t sure whether he’ll have the time. But he’s clearly a high achiever. Despite being a unilingual francophone, he studied neuroscience and was a pre-med student at Union College, where he also played varsity hockey for four years, learning English as he studied. And he’s clearly a valuable offensive weapon for his team, which he leads in both goals (30) and points (59) in just 34 games.
“I’m in my fourth year in the league,” Boileau said. “I guess I’m getting a little better.”