Eric Wellwood nearly died last year after a freak accident during a game which resulted in severe blood loss. On April 7, 2013, while playing with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms, Wellwood crashed into the boards, his left skate cutting his right ankle.
Wellwood severed three tendons and cut through a major artery which resulted in extreme blood loss and almost cost him his life.
Wellwood was back on the ice five months after the injury, but he knew his NHL career was over. He relied on his speed to be his strongest asset and the injury had robbed him of this.
“It never fully recovered,” Wellwood said. “I’m happy where it’s at, but I’m not able to perform at the level of a pro athlete. I can go hard one day, but not the next. I spoke to the surgeon and he said if kept pushing, I was going to hurt the outside tendons. You have to keep the good tendons.”
It had been rumored that he would retire, but the official announcement was made on Friday after he accepted a coaching position with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.
“I knew for a while I wasn’t going to play,” Wellwood told the Windsor Star. “I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t want to deal with it. I knew a long time ago I was done playing, I just didn’t know what I was going to do after the fact.”
Wellwood was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers and appeared in 42 games over three seasons with the club.
Upon hearing the news to retire, the Flyers offered him a position within the organization. The job was in player development and Wellwood wanted to be behind the bench, so he took the offer with the OHL. Always knowing that if he couldn’t play, he wanted to coach, Wellwood is excited for this new opportunity.
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers