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'I'm indebted to these guys': First responder, former cop save N.S. man's life in hockey rink

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John Guinan, like he had done countless times in his life, hit the ice and started skating. He was moving around the net when, without warning, he was plunged into darkness and hit the ground, and waking up looking at the men who saved his life.

“I had a cardiac arrest,” said Guinan, who is from Truro, N.S. “There was no feeling per se, things just went black. It was like a lamp being unplugged.”

Nigel Leggett, a first responder, and Greg Whalen, a former police officer, leapt into action to save Guinan’s life on the ice on March 7.

“We got him rolled over and got his hockey gear out of the way,” Leggett said. “You could tell by the colour… he had left us at that point. Greg came back with the AED (automated external defibrillator) and the shock went off and probably within 90 seconds John was talking with us.”

Whalen said last July a player left the bench saying they didn’t feel well and was soon taken to hospital as they suffered a heart attack. Whalen took the initiative to set up First Aid protocols on the bench.

“When Johnny had his incident, that protocol, I believe, helped save his life,” Whalen said.

Guinan is deeply grateful to the people who helped save him and hopes by sharing the story it will benefit others.

“I’m indebted to these guys, it’s a debt I’ll never be able to repay,” he said. “It’s my hope we can turn this (into something) for the benefit of all.

“The most sincere, heartfelt thank you I can muster.”

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Greg Whalen as a paramedic.

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