The Ontario Hockey League announced in a tweet late on Sept. 22 that Hamilton Bulldogs head coach David Matsos was “alert and responsive” after collapsing on the bench with 19.8  seconds remaining in their game against the Colts at the Barrie Molson Centre.

With the Bulldogs leading 4-2 in the final seconds, the Hamilton bench began frantically throwing sticks and equipment on the ice to alert the game officials after the 44-year-old had suddenly collapsed on the bench and appeared to lose consciousness. Medical staff rushed on the ice to aid the coach, who eventually would regain consciousness. With the help of paramedics, he was able to get on his feet and on to a stretcher before being wheeled out to a waiting ambulance.

Matsos was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital for “precautionary measures.”

In a Hamilton Spectator story by sports writer Teri Pecoskie, Bulldogs team owner Michael Andlauer said that Matsos had suffered a “seizure.” In the same story, general manager Steve Staios confirmed from the hospital that Matsos was “OK” and was undergoing tests. He also said the organization would release more information on Sept. 23.

“It kind of puts things in perspective,” Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk said a short while after Matsos had been taken to the ambulance. “It was a good hockey game. They played well, I thought we played well. I thought we had our chances and just couldn’t score. We made a run, but we’re just thinking about Dave right now.”

Hawerchuk, along members of the Colts coaching and training staff, immediately rushed on the ice after Matsos had gone down on the bench.

Officials called the game a few minutes after the medical episode, sending players to the dressing room and had arena staff clear fans from the building while Matsos was being attended to.

“I guess he just went down,” Hawerchuk said. “We really didn’t know (what was happening). We heard the bench yelling and they were throwing sticks, gloves and everything on the ice. It got the attention of everybody and the refs and they blew (the play) dead. I don’t know if it was a seizure or whatever, but it’s good to see him responding now.”

The Colts trailed the contest, 3-0, midway through the third period when Luke Bignell and Joey Keane, on the power play, scored a little more than two minutes apart to cut the lead to one.

Isaac Nurse fired an insurance marker into an empty net with just 1:14 remaining, before the game was officially called in the remaining seconds.

Photo: Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Dave Matsos collapsed on the bench and was taken to the hospital late in the third period of an OHL game at the Barrie Molson Centre.