Thursday was a rough night for fans of Woodbury boys hockey as the Royals lost not only District 833 bragging rights, but also one of their all-around good-guy team players.
It would be hard for anyone not to feel happy for Park in their winning effort that ended a five-year losing skid to their northern neighbors and provided a glimmer of hope for the Cottage Grove area high school athletic scene that has struggled this season after losing many of its talented competitors to East Ridge.
However, there were few — if any — positives anyone could take from the tragedy that befell the Royals’ Christian Turner.
Turner, a junior forward for coach Wes Bolin’s squad, saw his season — and possibly career — come to an end after he was checked from behind by Park’s Robby Donohue during the second period.
Was it a "cheap shot?" Or an unfortunate circumstance? That’s for those that were in attendance to judge.
What cannot be overlooked is that while Donohue lost out on playing the rest of the game after being ejected for the hit, Turner has up to six months of difficult recovery ahead of him after suffering what was described by Bolin as a fractured back and a compressed vertebrae.
While the act could be condemned, what must be commended — besides Turner’s ability to still move — is that there were no on-ice reprisals over the near half-hour of play that followed the incident.
Let’s hope when these two teams play again Jan. 21 in the next chapter of a sometimes ugly rivalry, cooler heads prevail and that no ambulances have to be dispatched to the Cottage Grove Ice Arena the way one was to Bielenberg on Thursday.