Longtime Québec Major Junior Hockey League referee Josh McCormack had his life flash before his eyes.
Two years ago in June, McCormack was attempting to cross a street in Moncton, New Brunswick when he was struck by a moving vehicle.
“I was knocked unconscious so things never started to click until the morning, when I woke up in the hospital,” admitted McCormack.
“A lot of emotions run through your mind like fear, anger, happiness and relief. It really is just a ball of emotions once you realize what happened, and just how lucky you are to be alive,” added the nine-year veteran referee.
When the shock of the incident briefly subsided McCormack’s thoughts shifted to his life’s passion and second career.
“Truthfully the first thing is that you’re just praying as to how lucky you are to be alive and then to have most of my body working was a blessing as well.”
“After all of that you start looking at the damage, it had been a rollercoaster ride,” confessed the Blackville, New Brunswick native.
At first the prognosis didn’t look good.
Multiple surgeries were recommended and a possible return to the ice looked grim.
McCormack was initially told he would be off skates for quite sometime due to the severity of his injuries especially to his right knee.
McCormack’s gruelling road to recovery all started with unwavering support of his family and friends.
“First and foremost I couldn’t have done any of this without them. The sacrifices they made to assist me in my recovery was second to none and I will always love them for that,” said an emotional McCormack.
McCormack credits his surgeon, Dr. Michael Forsythe for supporting and pushing him to reach milestones throughout the recovery process.
Courtney Flanagan, a physiotherapist from Miramichi, NB’s River Rehab was also critical in McCormack’s recovery.
“Courtney’s team are top notch and strive to give you the best chance of full recovery available.”
McCormack also worked with Moncton Wildcats longtime therapist and strength and conditioning coach Graham Black. “The biggest aspect I’ve come to notice during this entire process is how mental the recovery is,” confessed McCormack.
“If your mind doesn’t want to see strides or results, then it is very hard to achieve them.”
So what did it mean to have so many people rooting for him and sending messages of encouragement?
“Overwhelmingly heart warming,” McCormack said.
Well wishes poured in from coaches, players and fans alike when news got about the ordeal.
“All those messages gave me that little extra motivation when I was tired or sore. The support from the hockey world was second to none.”
January 3, 2019 was like any other regular season game. Nevertheless, it will be a date that Josh McCormack remembers forever.
His long road back to the QMJHL was finally realized.
McCormack’s earlier than expected return to the game he loves was immeasurable for his psyche.
“Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say, two years since my accident and the day I learned to live for the moment,” said McCormack.
“These 731 days have been filled with highs and lows but unique experiences I’ll never forget.”
“Some challenging days, but many more amazing days. Some lost opportunities, but many more new opportunities gained. Some tears shed, but many more smiles given. Some mentally draining moments, but many more mentally rewarding events.”
“Over these last 24 months If I were to sum it all up in the five new rules I live by now:
1) Positivity wins the day
2) Live to live
3) Know when to say no, but mostly say yes
4) Never let the fear of failure hinder your ability to succeed
5) Always read the full article, never just the headline.
“To everyone who is apart of my life from near and far, thank you,” McCormack said.