Strangers Work Together To Save Man’s Life at Centre Ice Arena In Traverse City

“Really anybody can save a life at any time, you just never know when you’re going to need that knowledge,” said Allison Rose, cardiac nurse and curler for Traverse City Curling Club.

Five complete strangers were at the right place at the right time to save a man’s life.

It happened during a recreational drop-in hockey practice on Sunday at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.

A man went into a form of cardiac arrest in the middle of a practice.

In our top story, 9&10’s Whitney Amann talked to two of the people who jumped in and saved the man’s life.

Sunday night, when one of the players stepped out onto the ice, he looked down and saw his teammate flat on the ice unresponsive and that’s when he said instincts kicked in

“Something just happens and you just know you have to do something,” said John Gavaldon.

The right people, at the right place at the right time..saved a man’s life.

“I took the ice and I came out and Gary was lying face down on the ice and I said ‘Gary you all right’ and that’s when everybody started gathering around and it was kind of chaotic,” said Gavaldon.

Unfortunately this was a familiar scene for John who lost his wife two years ago…

“I went through the same thing with my wife,” said Gavaldon. “I had to do the same thing, I had to call 911 and they walked me through the situation. She was in bed and then I had to get her on the floor and start compressions until the EMTs got here.”

While he and another player were performing CPR on Gary, a woman on the other rink who happened to be a cardiac nurse, came and took over.

“You’re kind of trained to jump in” said Rose. “I got into nursing to help people and training just kind of takes over.”

She continued to perform CPR when another player who was a paramedic came and helped. They were able to shock him with an AED and get his pulse back.

“It’s kind of surreal. You expect stuff like this to happen at the hospital, you just hope you never have to use it in public and it’s great to have people around who have training whether it’s a nurse or a paramedic or even somebody who’s just taken a basic CPR/AED class,” said Rose.

By the time the ambulance arrived and the paramedics stepped in, Gary was alert and talking again.

“You just truly don’t ever know what you’re going to walk into. It was chance we were there and chance so many of us were able to help him,” said Rose.

Gary is expected to recover and can leave the hospital in a couple days.