It’s been over a year since Eric Wellwood last played hockey. On April 7, 2013, while playing with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms, he lost an edge chasing an opponent and crashed into the boards. His skate ended up cutting his ankle and the damage almost cost him his life.
As Frank Seravalli detailed in a January story for the Philadelphia Daily News, Wellwood severed three tendons and cut through 70-percent of an artery and his Achilles. The blood loss was so great and serious that he was minutes from dying. (You might remember teammate Danny Syvret’s gruesome Twitter photo of the bloody skate.)
"I've never seen anything like it,” then-Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told Seravalli.
After rehabbing, the 24-year old Wellwood finally made the decision on his future: he would retire; but it wasn’t officially known until Friday when it was announced he was taking an assistant coaching position with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.
“I knew for a while I wasn’t going to play,” said Wellwood, who was introduced Thursday at the team banquet. “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.”
A 2009 draft pick of the Flyers, Wellwood spent the bulk of his short career in the AHL, playing 164 games with the Phantoms and 31 games in the NHL with Philadelphia.
Before taking the job with the Generals, the Flyers had offered Wellwood an assistant coach job with the Phantoms. He turned it down because he wasn’t ready to commit to anything just yet.
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