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B.C. NHL referee Kozari stretchered off the ice after ugly collision

Kozari expected to make a full recovery after colliding with Tampa’s Fleury during game in Pittsburgh
The medical staff tends to referee Steve Kozari after he and Tampa Bat Lightning’s Haydn Fleury collided in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Chaz Palla/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP)

Referee Steve Kozari was taken off the ice on a stretcher after colliding with Tampa Bay defenseman Haydn Fleury in the third period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-4 win over the Lightning on Saturday.

Kozari and Fleury ran into each other at center ice 6:11 into the third period as the Penguins began to advance the puck out of their defensive zone. Kozari hit his head on the ice and was down for several minutes while being tended to by medical personnel before they took him off the ice. He was able to move his arms and hands.

The NHL said Kozari was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons and was “conscious and alert, has the use of all of his extremities and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Fleury was also down on the ice for several minutes. He did not return to the game.

“That was tough to watch,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “I went into the locker room during that pause. Naturally, (Fleury) was a little shook up. It was just one of those plays that was kind of a freak accident. But hopefully, both guys will be OK.”

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