By Nick Patterson Herald writer
Real life has intruded on the WHL over the past week.
Kootenay Ice star Tim Bozon remains in critical condition in a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, hospital after contracting a form of meningitis.
According to Saskatoon Blades broadcaster Les Lazaruk, Bozon was placed in a medically-induced coma last Thursday at Royal University Hospital. The 19-year-old forward from Switzerland’s condition has progressively worsened, and it’s hoped the coma will help slow down the progression of the disease.
“Obviously, it’s tough when you see that happening to a teammate,” Kootenay center Luke Philp told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “We gotta fight for him out on the ice, we gotta play for him and we know he’s fighting, so we’re going to keep battling as hard as we can for him.”
Bozon scored a goal for Kootenay in its 4-2 victory at Saskatoon on Feb. 28. The previous night he attended the Goo Goo Dolls concert in Saskatoon with the Blades’ Mitch Lipon, a former teammate of Bozon’s when the two played in Kamloops.
But the next day Bozon was admitted to Royal University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with Neisseria meningitis, a contagious bacterial infection that affects the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis is typically spread through contact with nose or throat secretions from an infected individual. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported the Blades have taken precautions with their players by administering antibiotics.
Bozon’s parents, Helene and Philippe, joined Bozon at the hospital from their home in Cureglia, Switzerland, the day after he was admitted. Helene and Philippe Bozon sent a message through their son’s Twitter account, saying: “Our Timmy is keeping fighting but … thank you so much for your wonderful wishes. Helene and Philippe Bozon.”
Bozon was selected by the Montreal Canadians in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft, signing a three-year entry-level deal with the Canadians last May. He was acquired by Kootenay from Kamloops in October, and in 50 games with the Ice he had 30 goals and 32 assists.
Around the WHL
Kootenay and Swift Current were the latest teams to clinch playoff spots, meaning that with one week remaining in the regular season there’s just three postseason berths still up for grabs. In the Western Conference, Tri-City has clinched at least a tie for the eighth-and-final playoff spot as the Americans lead Prince George by four points and the Cougars have just two games remaining. In the Eastern Conference, Prince Albert, Red Deer and Brandon are all tied with 71 points. Two of the three will make the postseason. … Two more WHL overagers signed NHL entry-level contracts as Edmonton defenseman Cody Corbett signed with the Colorado Avalanche and Red Deer goaltender Patrik Bartosak signed with the Los Angeles Kings. … Prince Albert’s Leon Draisaitl was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 18-year-old forward had five goals and four assists as the Raiders went 3-0.
Points — Mitch Holmberg (Spokane) 113; goals — Holmberg 60; assists — Nicolas Petan (Portland) 74; penalty minutes — Ryan Rehill (Kamloops) 182; wins — Tristan Jarry (Edmonton) 41; goals against average — Coleman Vollrath (Victoria) 2.24; save percentage — Vollrath .930.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.