Anoka Ice Arena near death experience shocks hockey community

Anoka’s hockey community remains shocked after a near-death experience at the Anoka Area Ice Arena in late January.

Around 20 minutes into a Sunday hockey game, things turned quickly when Hayden Ceaser’s older teammate went into cardiac arrest.

"It was very scary… he kind of collapsed," Ceaser told FOX 9. "He was stuck, just kind of hunched over, no response at all."

"He was clinically dead, there’s no if, ands, or buts about it," Bryan Platz of Coon Rapids Heart Safe continued. "What these guys did is quite remarkable. It was traumatic. It was horrifying to watch their friend die, yet they fought through that fear."

After CPR, and with the use of an AED, the man was resuscitated and is now recovering.

However, the person who is being thanked for saving the man’s life was not in the building at the time.

"I got teary-eyed, because it was a goal that me and Brad and Steve Dowling had made, and to see it come to fruition that it saved someone’s life," Jack Carlson of the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association told FOX 9.

Carlson’s friend -- former North Stars player Brad Maxwell -- spent more than a decade raising money to buy dozens of AEDs for hockey arenas across the state. 

Tragically, Maxwell did not live to see the recent miracle in Anoka. He died last fall after a battle with lung cancer.

However, even after Maxwell’s passing, his legacy lives on in the life-saving devices.

"I ended up getting a hold of Brad’s wife, Lori and telling her about it, and we were all just kind of tickled that his legacy is still going on, and he did the good work, and now it’s helped somebody," Carlson said.

"Even though he’s gone, he’s still here making the world a better place," Platz said.