Springfield Falcons forward Wade MacLeod, who suffered a seizure on the ice after taking a hit into the boards during a recent game against the Adirondack Phantoms, has a non-cancerous brain tumor, it was revealed on Feb. 21.
The Falcons released a statement from MacLeod's family shortly after noon on Thursday that read, "Doctors have discovered a benign mass in Wade's brain. He will be undergoing further examination to determine the appropriate treatment. We appreciate the respect of Wade's privacy at this time."
Shortly after, the Falcons specified that a CT scan revealed the mass.
MacLeod, a product of Northeastern University, is out indefinitely after a terrifying incident on Feb. 17 during which he convulsed on the ice and was subsequently taken off on a stretcher after being hit into the boards by Adirondack's Brandon Manning, his head appearing to strike the glass.
After absorbing the hit, MacLeod recovered and continued skating as Manning was called for boarding with 3:42 remaining in the second period. MacLeod kept his feet for approximately 30 seconds before falling to the ice in front of the Falcons' bench as teammates surrounded him.
Sensing the urgency of the situation, forward Ryan Johansen raced over to the Zamboni doors through which emergency workers were entering the ice and hastily skated the stretcher and the backboard to MacLeod.
After several minutes in front of a silent MassMutual Center crowd, MacLeod was loaded onto the backboard and taken off the ice on the stretcher.
Both teams were directed to the locker rooms and it was originally announced that the remainder of the second period would be played after the second intermission. However, after a lengthy delay as neither team, nor officials took the ice after the arena's intermission clock read 0:00, Falcons President and General Manager Bruce Landon informed the crowd that the game would be suspended, news that was met largely with applause.
Later that evening, the team released a statement, saying that he was brought to Springfield's Baystate Medical Center and his family later stated that he was "alert, in good condition, in positive spirits." He has since been released from the hospital.
Manning apologized that night for injuring MacLeod via Twitter, saying, "Would like to give my best to Wade MacLeod and his family. Never had any intention of ever hurting another player."
MacLeod also took to Twitter on Feb. 18, indicating that he harbored no ill will by stating, "It was a play that is made many times throughout a hockey game. The result here was unfortunate but I am feeling much better."
MacLeod was in the midst of his second full professional season. With the Falcons this year, he recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 20 games. He also had six goals and an assist in a brief assignment with the Evansville Icemen.
The year prior, MacLeod scored 10 goals and assisted 19 others in 66 games.
After a terrific senior season for Northeastern during which he recorded 45 points in 38 games, he joined the Falcons for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season. He suited up for nine games, registering a goal and two assists.
The Falcons have since announced that the remainder of the Feb. 17 game will be played at 6:05 p.m., prior to the regularly-scheduled game between the Falcons and Phantoms, the start time for which has been changed form 7 to 7:30 p.m. The remainder of the first game will be open to the public, but the arena will then be cleared and tickets must be purchased for the 7:30 p.m. contest.
There has been no announcement from the Falcons regarding any compensation for those holding tickets for the Feb. 17 game, an issue that has been hotly debated by fans on the team's Facebook page.
(Note: Accounts of the events at the MassMutual Center on Feb. 17 are based on the personal observations of this writer.)