EDMONTON — Winnipeg Jets assistant GM Craig Heisinger is more than happy to be present for his team’s Tuesday night’s NHL season-opener.
And for more than just a fresh start to the hockey cycle.
Late Saturday night, Heisinger and St. John’s IceCaps director of hockey operations Brad Andrews were in a vehicle that collided with a moose on their way back to St. John’s after an AHL exhibition game in Clarenville, NL.
Neither the moose nor Andrews’ vehicle fared very well, but Heisinger and Andrews walked away without a scratch.
"Both Brad and I are completely fine," Heisinger, who holds the title as IceCaps’ GM, said Tuesday afternoon, just before the Jets met the Oilers. "Everyone tells us we’re lucky to be fine."
On the two-hour drive after the game with Andrews at the wheel, the two hockey executives came around a highway curve and found the moose walking in the middle of the road.
"We were just coming around a corner and it was walking right in the middle. It was perfectly clear out. One minute there was nothing, the next it was right in front of us."
The two men were in the vehicle for a few minutes after the collision.
"The frame was bent and the doors wouldn’t open or the windows, so we had to break our way out of it," Heisinger said.
Help arrived quickly.
"There was a lady who had been driving the other way and she had passed the moose and had seen it on the road," Heisinger said. "She said she had hoped nobody would come along the other way but when she saw us, she said she knew we’d hit it. So she called 911 and it was a pretty quick response."
Not so many years ago, when he was GM of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Heisinger said he nearly hit one of the animals en route to a fishing day in the Whiteshell.
"That was close, but I just missed it," he said.
Always quick with a one-liner, Heisinger couldn’t resist the natural quip: "Imagine if my demise had come because of a moose," he said.