NY Islanders alum comes to the rescue of NHL employee choking in the press box

Capitals v Thrashers
Capitals v Thrashers / Scott Cunningham/GettyImages

Former New York Islanders center Tony Hrkac won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, but his most impressive and important feat at a hockey game may have happened at Crypto.com Arena on Jan. 4, when the Los Angeles Kings were hosting the Detroit Red Wings.

The 57-year-old, who played seven games for the Isles during the 1999-00 season, made the save of the night when an unidentified NHL employee was seen turning "purplish," the result of a press box pretzel that was lodged in their throat.

Hrkac, who was attending the game as a Tampa Bay Lightning scout, jumped into action, performing the Heimlich maneuver and dislodging the intermission snack. The NHL employee soon began breathing normally as everyone breathed a sigh a relief.

After playing 69 games for the Stars in their Stanley Cup-winning season, Hrkac signed with the Islanders during the summer, going from one of the league's best teams to one of its worst.

His stay on Long Island was very short-lived, as he was moved in one of the least memorable trades in franchise history. After picking up two assists in seven games, he was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim along with Dean Malkoc for Ted Drury on Oct. 29. The Connecticut-raised, Harvard-educated brother of current New York Rangers GM Chris Drury, Ted scored two goals and one assist for the Islanders in the 1999-00 season.

For his career, Hrkac, a second-round selection (32nd overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, scored 132 goals and 239 assists in 758 NHL games with eight different teams (Blues, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Islanders, Ducks, and Atlanta Thrashers). He finished eighth in Calder Trophy voting as a 21-year rookie in 1987-88, scoring 11 goals and 37 assists for St. Louis.