Brett MacLean, the leading goal-scorer for the Portland Pirates last season, continues to improve in his recovery from a cardiac emergency last week when his heart stopped beating during a pickup hockey game in his native Ontario.

“In general, he’s doing well,” said Brad Treliving, assistant general manager of the Phoenix Coyotes, Portland’s parent club, by phone from Arizona Monday afternoon. “He’s communicating and he’s up and moving around.”

MacLean, 23, has been in University Hospital in London, Ontario, since last Monday night, when he was air-lifted there from Owen Sound. According to a story in the Calgary Sun, MacLean collapsed on the ice and fellow players Jason Gallagher and Jason Silverthorn began performing CPR. A firefighter who was in the stands called 911 and grabbed the rink’s portable defibrillator machine.

The story said MacLean’s heart was shocked back into life within three minutes of his collapse, then twice more after paramedics arrived.

Gallagher visited MacLean in the hospital Friday and expressed his amazement to the Sun: “Remarkable, a miracle,” he said. “No other word to describe it. The last time I saw him, he had no vital signs and we were performing CPR on him. And within a few days, he’s walking around and shaking my hand.”

Treliving said more diagnostic tests are scheduled to try and figure out what happened and why. For now, the Coyotes and the greater hockey community are simply encouraged by MacLean’s continued improvement.

“From what we’ve been told and from reports that we’ve gotten, it’s positive news,” Treliving said.

A forward, MacLean scored 25 goals and added 23 assists for the Pirates last season. After the Pirates missed the AHL playoffs, he was among a group of nine skaters who served as a makeshift taxi squad for the Coyotes during their NHL playoff run, practicing in Arizona with Portland Coach Ray Edwards and assistant coach John Slaney.

Reached Monday, Edwards said he has yet to speak with MacLean or his family, but has sent him well wishes via text.

“I’m getting the updates like everybody else, through the media,” Edwards said.

Five tweets went out Saturday under MacLean’s Twitter account (macattack_39), including this:

“It’s crazy how quickly things can change. Make sure you don’t take life for granted and always make time for things you enjoy.”

On Monday afternoon, the Coyotes released a two-paragraph statement regarding MacLean’s status.

“We have been in contact with Brett’s family and the hospital over the past week and the reports are that he is doing well and his condition is improving,” said Don Maloney, the Phoenix general manager. “Brett will continue to undergo tests with the cardiology team at University Hospital in London, Ontario.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH