An Academy of Holy Angels hockey player remained hospitalized in intensive care Sunday after he was injured in a scrimmage Saturday in Vadnais Heights.
Mason Garcia, 18, a senior and a captain of the Richfield high school team, was hurt when hit while playing against Lakeville South during the White Bear Lake Scrimmage Fest, head coach Patrick Griswold said Sunday.
Griswold said he didn't see the play because he was talking to another player at the time. But he said video showed Garcia hitting his head against the glass. "He was in and out of consciousness on the ice, and we called 911," Griswold said.
Griswold, who visited Garcia at the hospital Saturday night and Sunday morning, said there was early concern because the teen had little movement in his hands and little to no movement in his legs.
But he said an MRI found no cause for concern and Garcia's condition seemed to be improving Sunday morning.
"Today, they took the neck brace off. He has been sitting up and they're starting some [physical therapy] with him," Griswold said.
He said it was an emotional time for the team.
"We still had a half a scrimmage left. I shut it down; I said, 'We're done,' " Griswold said. Other teams agreed to end play for the day, too.
Afterward, team members gathered to support each other. "That's just kind of testament to our kids and team and culture, and how much they care about Mason," Griswold said.
Garcia is a popular member of the team, he said. "It's funny — they call him 'Dad,'" Griswold said. "We've got a lot of younger guys. He takes care of these kids."
Several local hockey organizations and teams, including Lakeville South, have posted messages in support of Garcia's recovery.
"We just ask for continued prayers. He's got a little road ahead of him, but right now things are positive. He's come a long ways in less than 24 hours," Griswold said.
The scrimmages were being played at the TCO Sports Garden.