Award for arena rescuers
Some heroic actions by staff at Oceanside Place that resulted in a hockey player’s life being saved have been recognized by the B.C. Ambulance Service (BCAS).
Vital Link Awards were presented to Mike Chestnut, Charles Stockand, John Marcellus and Clayton Bannatyne, for their exceptional actions that resulted in Parksville Golden Oldies hockey player Bernie Diakow being kept alive after he collapsed while playing hockey on the Howie Meeker arena on September 21, 2011.
The awards were handed out at a ceremony at Oceanside Place in Parksville on Tuesday, February 28 to the employees of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and while their quick thinking and professional training is perfect example of how being prepared for an emergency pays off there were many more people involved in the rescue of Diakow.
CPR was performed on Diakow for a good 13 minutes before staff used the automated external defibrillator (AED) on him until paramedics arrived.
It was the first time using the defibrillator kit for arena staff members but before they could get the machine on his chest Diakow’s hockey gear needed to be removed and CPR had to be performed.
Hockey player Chico Hammond, who saw Diakow go down, was the first to get to him.
The Parksville resident worked for the ambulance service when he lived in the Maritimes and because of his paramedic training he knew exactly what to do.
“We checked his vitals and was already gone. I cut off his hockey pads and started to perform CPR,” Hammond recalled.
Hammond said he, along with arena staff member Clayton Bannatyne, took turns doing chest compressions on Diakow before other arena employees implemented their emergency life saving skills.
Diakow was not only the first person to receive shocks from the AED — he also launched the fundraising campaign to buy the equipment for the Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association (PGOSA) 10 years ago.
Ever since Diakow’s life saving rescue, the four employees have had to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on two more players in the 70-plus hockey league.
“We jokingly call the ambulance the PGOSA taxi said Diakow’s wife, Bernice.
“He’s the oldest at 81, but with so many older players on the team, staff at the arena is pretty busy. Bernie’s had three operations since it happened, and he’d love to get back on the ice and play. The other players who were treated are fine now.”
Wayne Randall, 69 and Walter Clark, 64 are the other hockey players who were saved by the well trained staff at the arena.
Randall who spent 10 days in hospital is back skating, but not playing hockey yet. He admitted he is lucky to be alive.
“John saved my life by performing CPR on me,” stated Randall.
Clark also agreed that all three of them wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the help they received from arena staff.
At Tuesday’s ceremony, members of the Panters Hockey club presented their own awards of appreciation to those involved in saving their players.
Bob Ormond said PGOSA is a family and to lose one member would be devastating.
Diakow who played hockey three to four times a week said his five-hour by-pass surgery took a lot out of him. He said he is feeling better than he did before his heart attack and he hopes to be back on the ice in September.
Although he was dismayed that his brand new shoulder pads had to be cut to get to his chest Daikow said jokingly that he forgives Hammond for ruining his hockey gear.