Ben Fanelli’s career looked all but over.
The Kitchener Rangers forward was hit into the boards by Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas on Oct.30, 2009, his head slamming into the stanchion before collapsing to the ice. The hit left Fanelli motionless on the ice, lying in a pool of his own blood.
Many thought he would never return to the game of hockey. Some believed he was lucky to be alive after suffering "severe head trauma."
But somehow, Fanelli overcame the odds and made an inspiring comeback to the Rangers in 2011.
"When he went down that night, it was probably one of the darkest nights in our franchise’s history," Rangers head coach Steve Spott said. "To see him climb out of that hole was absolutely outstanding."
The Rangers forward sat down with Sportsnet insider Damian Cox for a two-part series where he discussed his amazing comeback.
Amazingly, Fanelli has remained extremely positive throughout his entire rehab process. He kept himself motivated in a situation that at times looked bleak.
"When I first got home from the hospital, I put up a picture and a quote," he said. "Got me moving and got me kind of pumped up. Each day after I’d accomplish something, I’d put up a different quote of athletes that inspire me. Make sure I’m always wanting more."
The strong-willed Fanelli has put himself into a situation where he could one day be part of a NHL camp. Something no one thought was possible just three years ago.