“I no longer had control of my body,” says Vinzenz Rohrer, who reflects on his frightening injury on January 11
PETERBOROUGH | Vinzenz Rohrer was scared. On January 11, the 18-year-old Austrian spun in the air after a hip check from Kingston Frontenacs defender Thomas Budnick.
Rohrer didn't land on the ice like Elvis Stojko did in his glorious years in figure skating. The third round choice of the Canadian in the last draft saw his head and his neck take the shock during the impact with the ice.
Stunned by his very bad fall, Rohrer had convulsions while remaining inert on the ground. He left TD Place in Ottawa in complete silence until he was released on a stretcher. He was then transported by ambulance.
Habs prospect Vinzenz Rohrer had to leave the @Ottawa67sHockey game on a stretcher after this, prayers for him 🙏 #gohabsgo pic.twitter.com/1XgWxqfH1E
— Habs Fan TV (@habsfantv_) January 12, 2023
After Ottawa's 3-2 67 win over the Petes on Feb. 16 in Peterborough, Rohrer returned on this worrying moment of his season.
“At the time, there was nothing happening for me. To be honest, it was probably more scary for the people watching than it was for me. I no longer had control of my body. I have lost my memory of the events.”
“I had never had seizures in my life,” he continued. It can happen after a concussion, after a shock to the brain. It was a first for me. Now I'm back to the game. I'm healthy. I received the green light to return just over two weeks after the incident. I've been playing for three weeks now. I still think about it, it remains mentally. It's a mental challenge.”
“The doctors reassured me. It was a bad fall and bad luck. Doctors in Ottawa told me it was an isolated case. They don't believe it will become frequent. When I got back on the ice, however, I found that the game was going really fast. I had just missed two weeks and I felt like I had lost my rhythm a bit.”
With his mother
In a corridor of the old Memorial Center in Peterborough, Rohrer becomes a little more emotional in an interview with Journal, adding a detail about this evening of January 11.
< p>“It's not a funny coincidence,” he said. But the only game my mom [Ulrike] watched of me with the Ottawa 67 was that game. So she was in the stands when I got injured. She accompanied me to the hospital.”
“It was good for me. In the ambulance, the paramedics told me not to move. I was afraid of becoming paralyzed. I had never experienced such a serious injury. My mother stayed by my side, she spoke to me and reassured me. The doctors also calmed me down quickly. Injuries are part of the reality of hockey. I learned from this incident. I always try to become a better player.
Returning since January 27, Rohrer has scored five goals and added two assists in his last 12 games. The right-handed center has slowed down a bit compared to his production of 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 40 games this season.
In Gallagher's mold and a new one from CH
Vinzenz Rohrer catches the eye for his great speed. At 5', 11'' and 168, Rohrer is nothing like a big center, but he has a strong quality that could take him far.
Rob Wilson, the head coach of the Petes of Peterborough, offered a nice compliment when talking about the center of the Ottawa 67, the team he was about to face.
“He's very quick, he's got exceptional speed,” Wilson said. He can make defenders very nervous. To reach the NHL, you need speed. He has this weapon. But I also find him good in the face-off circle, he can score and he drives into the corners. I like him as a player. He's another good pick from Montreal.”
Rohrer, the 75th overall pick in the last draft, made an offensive leap this season with production just over one point per game (41 points in 40 games).
When asked to describe his second season with Ottawa in the Ontario Junior League, the Austrian has no eyes on his stats.
“For me, the first thing is the way the team plays,” he replied. I notice a great improvement for our team. We find ourselves at the top of our division in the OHL. Personally, I also find that there is an improvement. But with Dave [Cameron], our coach, it's never about the points. He never put pressure on me to produce offensively. He's looking to develop me as a complete center.”
Rohrer was recommended to watch the play of two forwards at the Canadiens. The first is unfortunately on the injured list, while the second is doing everything to stay in Montreal.
“The development guys [Francis Bouillon and Rob Ramage] often tell me to watch Brendan Gallagher and another who just arrived. He has had very good numbers since his recall. I'm looking for his name. He has two surnames.”
We helped him a little by releasing the name of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. It was him.
As for his character traits, Rohrer is described as very competitive in hockey, as in everything he touches. A quality that matches the 11 and 49.
- Stefan Lochbihler, Rohrer's father, is a former ATP tennis player who already reached the 149thth rank in the world in 1989.