A Lightning fan who was struck in the face by a hockey puck during Saturday’s playoff game against the Devils wants the NHL team to improve safety measures at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
- Fan was seated in section where safety netting ends
- Other fans report pucks flying into that section recently
- Family declined offer from team for tickets to a game
“Everything was black. I just felt like I got sucker punched,” said injured fan Sabrina Pattie, 39. “They should extend the netting.”
Pattie said she was at the game with her husband, Ryan, 45, along with their sons, ages 6 and 7. The family was sitting in a section where the netting boundary ends.
Pattie said two more pucks flew up into that section during the game.
“Having three pucks come in that same vicinity is obviously a red flag,” she said. “Another lady came in because she got hit by the puck.”
On the Facebook group page "Thunder Bolts," season ticket holder Kathy Crouthamel stated that Pattie was sitting two rows directly behind her.
“Pucks have been landing in our section almost every game lately,” she said. “Luckily, no one else has been hurt.”
Crouthamel also stated that one of “Heddy’s pucks” directly hit the front of her seat a couple of games ago, and her husband was hit in the chest with a puck during warm-up, but the force was broken up a bit by the net.
“Beginning to think we all need helmets,” she said.
Team slow to follow up, according to family
Pattie posted a photo shortly after being hit by the puck that showed a black eye and giant goose egg on her head. The caption read, “I helped Vasilevskiy out and saved the first goal”.
Pattie said she was taken to a medical room at Amalie Arena to be checked out, and was then transported by ambulance to Tampa General Hospital, where she spent five hours in the emergency room.
“They cleared me,” she said. “They said I was 'ok.'”
Pattie said she was disappointed the Lightning didn’t check on her the next day.
“Just dumbfounded that they at least didn’t call to make sure that I was ok,” she said. “They’re a great organization. We love hockey, we love the Lightning.”
The family hired an attorney and heard from the Lightning on Monday.
“They dropped the ball on this one. You have to follow up with someone who has this type of injury,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t a broken nail. This was head trauma.”
Ryan Pattie said the Lightning offered him tickets to a game, but he declined. The family said they’re not looking for a big payday, and realize tickets have a liability disclaimer on the back that states the “holder assumes all risks… including, without limitation, the risk of personal injury.”
“We went to a game and if… (they) even told us someone would get hit by a puck, of course we wouldn’t go,” he said. “Ultimately, we want the Lightning to look at their safety measures and make sure that no other family goes through what we went through.”
Lightning Executive Vice President of Communications, Bill Wickett, released a statement apologizing for what occurred.
“We are very sorry that Ms. Pattie was struck by a puck at our game on Saturday afternoon,” he stated. “The safety standards as they pertain to the spectator netting and minimum glass heights in all NHL buildings is set by the NHL and these standards are in place at Amalie Arena.”
Pattie said she also hopes the Lightning will help cover the medical co-pays she has racked up from the incident. The injured fan did get to keep the puck that hit her face.