Just after the eight minute mark of the first period in the much anticipated Hockey Allsvenskan match between Örebro and nearby Bofors, Örebro’s Niklas Lihagen collapsed lifeless to the ice.
“I realized right away that it was serious,” referee Wolmer Edqvist told the Expressen newspaper after the incident.
The 26-year-old Lihagen fell to the ice after taking a seemingly innocuous hit against the boards.
Bofors team doctor Peter Karlsson arrived first at Lihagen’s side
“When I got there he was still conscious. But after a few seconds he lost consciousness,” Karlsson told the newspaper.
Edqvist rushed to the aid of the 26-year-old Lihagen and began administering CPR.
“I knew we had about four minutes to bring him back to life,” the referee told Expressen.
Within a few minutes, Lihagen once again began showing signs of life. Two ambulances then arrived on the ice to take the injured player to hospital in Örebro, where he is said to be in a serious but stable condition.
Team officials from Örebro were thankful that Edqvist, a trained emergency medical technician, was assigned to officiate Sunday’s game.
“Fortunately Wolmer was the referee,” Örebro’s head of player operations Mikael Fahlander told Expressen.
“It was a nightmare. I felt totally powerless.”
Speaking with the local Karlskoga-Kuriren newspaper, Edqvist reflected on the fact that he was assigned to be the referee for a hockey game during which a player’s heart stopped.
“One wonders whether there was some reason for it,” he said, looking up toward the ceiling of the arena.
The game was suspended following the incident and Allsvenskan officials are expected to announce on Monday when the match will be replayed.
Video clip (in Swedish) of the incident courtesy of Svergies Television (SVT).