WILMINGTON (CBS) – A Littleton firefighter will never forget his first Boston Bruins practice.

Terry Gardner helped save a man’s life at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington Thursday morning.

The story was first reported by the Wilmington Patch.

Gardner was off-duty watching the B’s from the stands with several other hockey fans when he heard somebody scream “call 911” after a man collapsed about 30-to-40 feet away.

Gardner told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 the fan appeared to be having a seizure.

“At that point we lowered him to the ground, undressed his chest and quickly he deteriorated to pulse-less,” he said.

Gardner was assisted by an off-duty officer and they began doing chest compressions on the man, who is said to be 37-years-old

He was having a “major cardiac event,” according to Gardner.

A uniformed officer came over with an Automated Emergency Defibrillator (AED) and they delivered one shock to the man’s chest.

“By the time he was leaving, he appeared to be responsive again, slightly.  He wasn’t verbal, but he did appear to be responding slightly and breathing again,” Gardner said.

A Bruins spokesperson told WBZ-TV players “took a knee” on the ice during the rescue.  The unidentified man was taken to the hospital and practice resumed.

Gardner said the AED made a huge difference.

“Without that, it’d probably be a different conversation,” he told WBZ. “He owes his life probably to that machine today.”

The Bruins issued this short statement on Twitter after the incident:

All our thoughts are with the B’s fan who needed emergency medical attention at Ristuccia moments ago. hopeful everything is ok.

The man’s name and condition have not been released.

Gardner said he was told the man had recently had open-heart surgery.


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