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Vernon worker earns award for saving hockey player’s life

Jonny Rockall sprung into action when a recreational hockey player went into cardiac arrest
Vernon’s Jonny Rockall will be presented with the Vital Link award after he successfully resuscitated a recreational hockey player in 2020. The award will be presented at Kal Tire Place Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (File photo)

A Vernon man has earned a prestigious award after he sprung into action to save a man’s life at a hockey game.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) will present Jonny Rockall with the Vital Link award, an award given to people who are involved in saving a life through successful cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts, on Friday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.

According to BCEHS, it was at Kal Tire Place on Feb. 21, 2020, that 60-year-old Al Winther collapsed on the bench before getting on the ice to play hockey in a recreational game.

Rockall, a city employee, was working at the arena at the time and rushed over to help when another player told him that Winther was unconscious.

Rockall, who was trained as a Vernon volunteer firefighter, had never performed CPR in a real-life situation. But after determining that Winther was in cardiac arrest, he knew what to do.

Other hockey players had already called 911 and brought over an automated external defibrillator (AED). Rockall used the AED and continued performing CPR until firefighters and paramedics arrived.

Winther was transported to Vernon Jubilee Hospital and later transferred to Kelowna General Hospital. He now has a defibrillator implanted in his chest.

BCEHS says since the incident, Rockall and Winther have become good friends and regularly stay in touch.

Winther’s former hockey team will be present at Friday’s award ceremony at ice level.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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