Does the name Brian McGrattan ring a bell to you? He’s been around the NHL a little bit over the last 10 years (spending time with Ottawa, Phoenix, Nashville and Calgary), and prior to that, he moved around the OHL a little bit, spending three seasons with the Mississauga IceDogs, as well as spending some time with the Guelph Storm, the Sudbury Wolves, the Owen Sound Attack, and Petes’ rivals the Oshawa Generals.
At 6’6″ and 235, McGrattan is well built to be an enforcer, and certainly knows how to dance with the best of ’em.
On Tuesday night, McGrattan and the rest of the San Diego Gulls were taking on the San Antonio Rampage when McGrattan got tangled up with Daniel Maggio and a little tussle broke out. Fairly standard stuff, but the way the fight ended was not standard at all.
[Warning: This video is a little graphic, and my make you uncomfortable]
As you can see, McGrattan got the worst of it and was knocked unconscious, with his head slamming against the ice as he went down.
The good news is that we know he’s okay. From Sportsnet:
“I came around right away. Went through the baseline tests in our training room. Doctors wanted to send me for a CT scan to make sure there weren’t any broken bones, so I went to hospital for about 20 minutes, then came back.”
The important thing was McGrattan’s wife Michelle, who has been an outstanding influence on his life, knew he’d regained consciousness long before the injury went viral.
McGrattan, Eakins and GM Bob Ferguson had all reached out to let her know he was moving around.
“I have a Canadian cellphone, and my data was off. When I got back to the hotel and hooked up to the wireless, my phone started blowing up like crazy. I was thinking, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ I didn’t know that video got out.’”
What may be the worst part of it all is the fact that the crowd kept cheering after he faceplanted on the ice… But keep in mind that this was in Texas, where the fans aren’t always the most informed I guess.
“The fans here, they don’t know any better,” was all he said about that.
As for the injury itself?
“It looked a lot worse than it was,” he answers. “That’s what can happen. I’ve been the top dog for a long time. I was humble as the top guy, and you’re humble when you lose. It’s not a big shot to the ego. As for being scared in the future? No chance. I’m going to play the same way, and if I have to fight, that’s the way it is. I’ve done that to guys, that’s the brutality of that job.
“But I’m not stupid when it comes to injuries. I’ve had concussions. You let them ride out, don’t battle through them, wait until fully healed before returning to play. I always see how my body feels. If it says you don’t go, you don’t go.
“We have one more game next week before the (AHL All-Star) break. If I’m not ready by then, I’ll wait until after.”
For now, his wife will be keeping a close eye on him to make sure he’s alright, and he’ll be at home, enjoying spending time with her and their 9-month-old son Gabriel.
Another fun fact: This past December, McGrattan celebrated 7 years of sobriety after overcoming an alcohol abuse problem that plagued him early in his career. He has since served as a mentor to other players struggling with similar problems.
From the sounds of it, this injury is just a little bump in the road for him.