Ex-Oilers defenseman claims his injuries almost took his life

Sam Jones
July 7, 2024  (12:04)

Ex-Oilers defenseman claims his injuries almost took his life
Photo credit: Oilersnation.com

Sheldon Souray's career with the NHL, especially during his time with the Edmonton Oilers, was a blend of exceptional talent and tumultuous experiences.

As a native of Alberta, playing for the Oilers should have been a dream come true, but according to Souray himself, the reality was far from ideal.
In a revealing interview, Souray discussed the controversial conclusion of his tenure with the Oilers, particularly focusing on a severe hand injury that almost cost him his life. The incident and its aftermath painted a grim picture of the relationship between Souray and the Oilers' management at the time. Souray described the situation as one where his integrity and professionalism were questioned.
"I break my hand, it's a boxer's fracture, and I said I wanted to go to LA to get surgery, and they said no. Now I'd ask for a trade. We're not seeing eye to eye, and now they're thinking I'm like a spoiled brat who wants to change the organization," Souray explained.
The injury led to a dire medical emergency.
"I get the surgery, and I get out of the shower, and there's these two pins and they're sticking about this far out. I push them back in my hand, and it's three days in ICU. I got this major infection," Souray recounted. The situation escalated to the point where his life was at risk, "The nurse comes in one day, and I said ‘What are you gonna do, cut it off?' She goes, ‘Honey, we're not worried about your hand, we're worried about this getting to your heart and killing you.'"
Amidst his health struggles, Souray was informed by an assistant trainer that the Oilers' management suspected him of faking the injury. This revelation highlighted a severe breakdown in trust and communication between the player and the team, reflecting poorly on the Oilers' management of the time. This period in the Oilers' history could be seen as indicative of why some free agents hesitated to join the team.
Despite these challenges, Souray's career highlights include seasons where he demonstrated his skill and resilience. Notably, in the 2008-09 season, he scored 23 goals and amassed 53 points, showcasing not just his defensive prowess but also his offensive capabilities. His style combined the toughness of traditional hockey with a capability for significant offensive contributions, characterized by his powerful slap shot.
Fortunately for Oilers fans and players, the organizational culture has seen substantial improvements in recent years. With the drafting of Connor McDavid and the introduction of a world-class arena, the Oilers have revamped their image and management approach under Jeff Jackson's leadership. Today, Edmonton is recognized as a desirable destination for players, contrasting sharply with the challenges faced during Souray's time with the team.
Ex-Oilers defenseman claims his injuries almost took his life

Did you like Sheldon Souray when he played for the Oilers?

Yes, great player11661.7 %
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