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New Canaan High School Student Teddy Balkind Dies After Colliding With Another Player During Hockey Game

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- A young hockey player in Connecticut has died after a collision between two players on the ice during a school game.

Outside of St. Luke's School in New Canaan, the mood was somber Friday as students and parents gathered to mourn the loss of 10th grader Teddy Balkind.

"It's horrible. It's really bad," said an 18-year-old student named Calvin. "I feel like it's just like an outreach of, I don't know, sympathy."

As CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports, police say Teddy died after a Thursday evening junior varsity hockey game between high school students from St. Luke's and Brunswick School.

As the two private school teams faced off at Brunswick's rink in Greenwich, it's believed Teddy fell to the ice. Another player who was near him was unable to stop, and the two collided.

According to a statement sent to students from Brunswick, Teddy's neck was accidentally cut by a skate.

His father was present as the school's medical staff rushed to help.

After the collision, police say the game was immediately stopped and the young player was taken to Greenwich Hospital for help. That's where the teenager was pronounced dead.

St. Luke's has released a statement saying in part, "Yesterday, we lost a precious young man in a tragic accident. Both St. Luke's School and Brunswick School are in shock as we work to support our students and families. St. Luke's singular focus at this moment is to care for our devastated community."

Meanwhile, Brunswick School added in part, "Tragedies such as this are hard to process and impossible to understand. We will do all we can in the coming days and weeks to help and support those in our community and in the St. Luke's community."

Teddy had been a camper at Camp Awosting since 2014. The camp sent the following email to families:

Dear Awosting Families,

It is with great sadness
that we send this email to our Awosting community about one of our campers who passed away Thursday night in a tragic accident.

Teddy Balkind was a fearless,
beautiful soul, who was full of life and a friend to all. He had an infectious, positive personality which quickly spread to others in all aspects of Awosting life. A born leader, he was humbled by being named the 2021 Iroquois Tribal Captain. His passion
for camp - his tribe, his friends, his counselors - was unparalleled. Teddy was the recipient of numerous awards during his time at Awosting, including the mountain bikes medal and trophy multiple years in a row, runner up for the OZ award twice (at least),
runner up and winner of the Buzz Ebner award, and many more. Teddy led by example, was a mentor to our younger campers, and was just an amazing young man.

How did you identify Teddy
at camp? Look for the biggest smile on a camper's face and that was "our" Teddy! He was the ultimate Awosting young man, #strongasbears, who learned by doing! Our world needs more young men like Teddy - #BeMoreTeddy.

Our friend forever,

Our summers together.

Our ray of sunshine,

Our boy - our best time.

Our big energy and our favorite

Mountain bikes first, waterfront

Whenever Teddy Balkind entered
a room, smiles followed.

Happiness ensued.

Our angel, our loss.

We will miss you and we love
you. #BeMoreTeddy

We know our Awosting families
will want to know how to help and remember Teddy. In the coming days and weeks, we will be in touch with Teddy's family to create ways for campers, staff, and Awosting administration to remember Teddy and support his family. Please be patient as his family
navigates this most difficult time.

We have attached a resource
you can use to speak to each other about this loss. Everyone copes with grief in different ways - there is no right way or wrong way. Please, just take care of yourselves and others. Campers, lean on trusted adults; adults, lean on your trusted friends. Be
kind to each other. #BeMoreTeddy. As services information becomes available, we will share that in a separate email if anyone would like to show Awosting support to the Balkind family.

We are here with you, we
will get through this difficult time together.

"Lacerations like that do happen, but, but it is very rare. More rare is when it's anything severe," said Ted Curtin, a former youth hockey coach.

He says while USA Hockey recommends neck guards for players, they are only required for goalies.

Curtin added while it's unclear whether Teddy was wearing one during the game, there's no guarantee it could have saved him.

"One of the problems with the neck guards, besides them being so cumbersome, is they didn't eliminate the risk of lacerations and sometimes the skate would hit the neck guard and move to another part of the neck and still penetrate, if that was what was going to happen, so these aren't flawless," he said.

For now, Curtin says he along with much of the Tri-State Area hockey community are sending their condolences and prayers to Teddy's parents and his sister.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report. Editor's note: This story was first published Jan. 7.

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