8-year-old hockey fan dies after being hit by puck during French league game


Tragedy touched the hockey world on Sunday when an 8-year old fan died of injuries sustained after being struck by a puck during an FFHG Division 1 game in France. 

Near the end of the third period during Saturday's game between Dunkirk and Reims, the young fan, Hugo Vermeersch, was hit in the ear with a puck and went into cardiac arrest. The president of Reims, Dr. Benoit Vrielynck, who is also a surgeon, began performing CPR before firefighters took him from the Patinoire Michel Raffoux Arena to a local hospital. Sadly, he would succumb to his injuries on Sunday morning.

"It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of little Hugo this morning....RIP little angel," read a Twitter statement from the team.

Dunkirk goaltender Niels-Erik Ravn sent out his condolences via Twitter:

"It's hard. Everyone knows each other, everyone knows the kid," said Patrice Vergriete, Mayor of Dunkirk.

Fans gathered outside the arena on Sunday to lay flowers and pay their respects to little Hugo: 

Getty Images
Getty Images

According to AFP, an investigation has been launched, with the lead magistrate stating that there is no protective plexigrass screens on the side of the Patinoire Michel Raffoux Arena rink. Vermeersch was reportedly sitting in an area that wasn't protected from flying pucks.

The game was suspended and a decision on what to do next is expected to be made this week. 

Stick-tap Patrik P.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!