Tricia Drummond opened her eyes, staring at a group of people that were staring down at her. She wasn’t sure how she ended up on the Verizon Center floor. She didn’t know why she was bleeding, because she didn’t feel any pain.
She had no clue that a puck had flown from the rink and rocketed off her right temple, knocking her unconscious in the third period of the Washington Capitals’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
Or that a nasty gash had opened up over her eye.
It wasn’t the first puck she had taken to the head, having played hockey since she was eight years old, growing up in New Jersey and then in Central Virginia as an adult. But that rubber bounced off her helmet; this puck ripped open her forehead.
“My worst hockey injury, and I was a spectator. Go figure,” Drummond told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
EMS workers took Drummond down to a medical room in the arena, where her injury was examined. It was determined she needed stitches.
Then she heard Alex Ovechkin tie the game in the final minute of the third period to complete a three-goal rally against the Flyers.
“I’ll get stitches later,” she said.
So Drummond returned to her seat near the glass and the Flyers’ bench, wearing a blood-stained Ovechkin sweater and with gauze pressed tightly on her gaping wound. From there she watched Washington win in a (thankfully short) shootout, 5-4.
She had driven over two hours from Williamsburg to witness one of the Capitals’ biggest wins this season. She left with quite an unexpected souvenir.
“Two hours later, my head was bumpin’” said Drummond, who received five stitches at George Washington University Medical Center that night. “It looked way worse than I thought it would.
As her head throbbed, her phone kept vibrating with messages from friends that had witnessed the incident on the Caps’ broadcast. Soon her phone was blowing up with screen captures and video of the puck hitting her in the head – with some good-natured razzing.
“They’re all [expletives]. I’m just kidding,” said Drummond, who’s a comedian that works with several Improv groups in the area.
Having played the game, having dedicated herself to Capitals fandom, Drummond said taking a puck to the head at the game managed to make her feel even closer to the team.
“Every time you go to a live game, every time you go to an event, you feel closer. The team becomes almost personal,” she said. “I don’t know how much more of a Caps fan I can get.”
Bleeding for your team does tend to raise the bar.