KITCHENER, Ont. - Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ben Fanelli is continuing his recovery from a frightening bodycheck at home following his release from Hamilton General Hospital over the weekend.
The 16-year-old suffered skull and facial fractures when his helmet flew off and he fell unconscious to the ice after a heavy hit into the boards from Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas during an Oct. 30 contest.
Fanelli had been in hospital since, starting off in critical condition in intensive care before steadily improving. He was released late Friday night.
"This is obviously an emotional day for the Fanelli family, our organization and community and really for the entire Ontario Hockey League's players and fans," Steve Bienkowski, COO of the Rangers, said in a statement on the team's website. "It is still very early in Ben's recovery that will include out-patient treatments at the hospital along with additional supporting treatments at home."
Fanelli's mother, Susan, added in the statement: "The support from the Kitchener Rangers organization has been wonderful. We are so appreciative it is hard to express."
The Ontario Hockey League came down hard on Liambas, suspending him for the entire season and effectively ending the 20-year-old's junior hockey career.
Liambas was assessed a match penalty for boarding after the hit.