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Man saves boy from flying puck at hockey game

Man saves boy from flying puck at hockey game


Waking up late, Asia Davis reflected on the harrowing outcome of the hockey game the night before and decided she had to find the man who may have saved her son's life. So she went on TikTok.

Out of nowhere, this puck comes from heaven straight for my son's head, Ms. Davis said in a TikTok video posted early Saturday.

She took her son and a friend Thursday to see the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters play the Laval Rocket.

Near the end of the game, a rogue puck shot off the ice, over the glass and into the stands where Nasir, 4, was sitting.

Just as suddenly, Ms. Davis said, a man wearing a backwards baseball cap and a gray sweater leaned over to swat him away.

Mrs. Davis says this man saved her son from a life-changing blow, or worse. The puck came so close that her son had ice cubes in his hair, she said.

“I was holding the puck and feeling how heavy it was, and knowing how fast it was going, I actually wanted to throw up,” Ms. Davis, 33, said in a telephone interview Sunday evening.

She thanked Mr. Podolak and took a photo of him with her son. Her son didn't realize he was almost hit, she said, and he was ecstatic when he got to keep the puck.

But the disturbing scenario continued to haunt her mind. She had trouble sleeping.

She needed to know the name of the fast-acting man.

So early Saturday morning, she turned to TikTok's help and posted a video of her friend's encounter, along with a photo she took of the man and her son.

Ms. Davis woke up around 10 a.m. to more than 600,000 views and an overflowing inbox, including one from the man himself, Andrew Podolak, 28.

He had just said: everything happens for a reason. “I'm glad the little guy is doing well,” Mrs. Davis said.

The Monsters organization saw Ms. Davis' TikTok video, which now has more than 4 million views, and invited her, Nasir and Mr. Podolak to drop the puck before the team played again against the Laval Rocket at home on Saturday evening.

Mr. Podolak and Nasir met again, this time on the ice, amid a swarm of television cameras and microphones.

There were a few other kids behind me too, so I just tried to jump in front of it and it was able to deflect off my hand, Mr. Podolak. told reportersreferring to the stray puck.

It's rare for a hockey fan to be killed by a puck. In 2002, a 13-year-old girl died after being hit in the head by a puck during a game in Columbus, Ohio, the only death of a fan in National Hockey League history. Protective netting at each end of NHL rinks was later made mandatory. The AHL, a feeder league to the NHL, followed suit.

At professional hockey games, announcements typically warn fans to watch out for flying pucks. A similar warning appears on the back of tickets or on scoreboards.

On Sunday, Ms. Davis said that shortly after the flying puck incident, Mr. Podolak told her that he happened to sit next to Nasir, even though he also had tickets for other seats.

I should have been here, Mrs. Davis remembered him telling her.

A few people said, Wow, that was really close, that was really lucky, Ms. Davis said. But I don't think it was luck. I guess that was fate.




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