It doesn’t matter what team you cheer for, this is something you never want to see happen to a hockey player. Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira was knocked out in a fight by Calgary Flames forward Brett Ritchie in Monday’s Battle of Alberta.
It was another nasty rivalry game between the two North Division rivals currently battling for a playoff spot. It got ugly in the opening period when a Khaira hit to the head of Flames’ forward Oliver Kylington went unpenalized. The 23-year-old Kylington was playing in just his fifth game of the season and had to go to the locker room following the hit.
Oliver Kylington has gone right to the room after this hit from Khaira.
There was no penalty on the play. pic.twitter.com/r74ykO5ajc
— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) March 16, 2021
Khaira knew he was going to have to answer for the hit, especially considering it went undetected by the officials. Flames forward Brett Ritchie soon challenged Khaira to a scrap, and the Surrey, BC native obliged.
The fight was very one-sided, with Ritchie landing several heavy punches before dealing a heavy final blow that left Kahiara wobbly and with a potential concussion. Khaira was able to get up on his own power and was helped off by the trainer, but he did not return to the game.
Many people believe fighting still has a place in the game of hockey, but it was awful to see a guy go down like that. It’s good to see Ritchie stepping up for the youngster, but the knockout that ensued was brutal. The slo-mo showed by Sportsnet following the fight clearly showed Khaira’s eyes go blank after he took that final blow.
While the knockout punch was the talk of social media Monday evening, the discussion from this game should really revolve around the officiating. If the NHL had done their job properly and a penalty had been call on the original Kylington play, would we have even gotten to this point?
Ritchie was forced to go into enforcer mode and protect a young player because no original call was made, and the final result was the worst possible outcome.