A popular curler from the Saint John area is recovering in hospital after suffering a medical emergency in the midst of a game.

The incident happened at the Travelers Provincial Curling Championship in Moncton Friday night.

“Threw his first rock, and everything was fine. He got into the hack for his second shot, and all of a sudden he fell over,” said the victim’s teammate, Adib Saman.

The well-known player, coach, and organizer suffered what is believed to be a heart attack while on the ice.

“Everybody ran over, thought maybe he was having a problem with his knee or something, but he wasn't getting up. So we ran down to see him and he was just lying flat on the ice and not moving,” said Saman.

Luckily, a doctor and nurse were also registered in the tournament and on the ice at the time of the emergency.

“We were fortunate we had a doctor and a nurse that were able to administer first aid immediately, and they had him revived before paramedics the ambulance was here to take over,” said Curl Moncton president Ellery Robichaud.

Thanks to a nearby defibrillator and CPR, the man was conscious and able to give a brief thumbs up to the crowd as he was taken to hospital, leaving family, friends and teammates shaken, but grateful.

While curlers say it was lucky there were trained medical professionals already on the ice, the incident reinforces the importance of having AEDs readily available in public buildings.

As a medical contact at her own club in St. Stephen, Susan Lister has seen plenty of emergencies on the ice, and says anyone can operate a modern AED.

“Whether you're a medical professional or not, it's very easy,” said Lister. “But I think the biggest thing is that everybody should have, at some point, a small CPR course.”

Teammates say the man will remain in hospital to undergo tests and ensure he is healthy before going home. Saman is passing along a message of gratitude to those who were ready to help in a time of need.

“We're very grateful for the people being here being so helpful and knowledgeable. It was very emotional for the team.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke.