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Park Ridge man has puck that brought fellow Hawks fan stitches — and visit from Stan Mikita

Irv Kaage 61 year-old businessman from Park Ridge who picked up puck thhit Dr. PatriciHiggins face with puck  United

Irv Kaage, a 61 year-old businessman from Park Ridge, who picked up the puck that hit Dr. Patricia Higgins in the face with a puck at the United Center Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Updated: July 16, 2013 6:32AM



A black eye, stitches and a hockey puck.

All are appropriate hockey keepsakes, if you’re a player.

Diehard Blackhawks fan Patricia Higgins, a 55-year old family practitioner from Burr Ridge, has the first two on that list after getting hit in the face with a puck while at the United Center Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The third is on the way.

The whereabouts of the offending black rubber disc was an afterthought until paramedics asked Higgins, who suffered a bone-deep gash above her right eye, “Did you at least get the puck?”

Amidst the awful thud, the blood and the commotion, the puck rolled to the feet of Irv Kaage in the next row.

“I did what anyone would have done. I picked it up,” Kaage, a 61 year-old businessman from Park Ridge said Friday.

When he turned around to see what was going on, Kaage was shocked to see blood pouring from a woman’s face and her daughter frantically trying to help. Kaage tried to provide comforting words. “Your mom’s going to be OK,” he said.

Moments later paramedics were escorting Higgins to an ambulance.

“What was I going to do, run after her wheelchair, hand her the puck and say ‘here’s the puck that hit you?’”

Kaage recognized Higgins and her daughter, Caitlin, 26, from attending previous Hawks games, but didn’t know their names. Kaage recognized Higgins and her daughter, Caitlin, 26, from attending previous Hawks games, but didn’t know their names.

He reached out to her after reading of her injuries in the Sun-Times and seeing television reports.

“I said I hope she feels better and that I wanted her to have the puck, she earned it. She was very gracious about it,” said Kaage.

He plans to deliver her the puck when he returns June 26 (the date of Game 7, if there is one) from a cruise down the Danube River in Europe where he and his wife will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

“I’m going to put it in a glass case and put it in the sports memorabilia room at my house,” Higgins said Friday.

And, though she had a huge headache, Higgins laughed as she said, “I saw the thing coming, I just couldn’t get out of the way.”

Though a bruised retina left Higgins with 50 percent vision in her right eye that will eventually heal, her sight was good enough to recognize ex-Hawk Stan Mikita when he stopped by the Higgins house Friday to drop off a Mikita jersey. He signed it “Thanks for taking one for the team.”

But, don’t expect it to replace the Patrick Sharp jersey she wore that night — which is now blood stained.

“The Hawks never lose when I wear that jersey.”



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