Former National Hockey League (NHL) player and Kingston native John Erskine is currently in hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries following a serious collision on Highway 401 in the Napanee area.
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at approximately 12:48 a.m., officers from the Lennox and Addington County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police responded to a head-on collision on Highway 401 eastbound, just east of Palace Road.
The ensuing investigation revealed that Erskine’s pickup truck was travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes of the highway when it collided with a transport truck. Erskine was arrested at the scene, but then transported to hospital. The driver of the transport truck was not injured. The highway was closed for several hours, and police are still investigating the incident.
Although OPP initially indicated that Erskine suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the assessment of his condition has significantly deteriorated since then.
The former NHL defenceman was born here in Kingston, but grew up playing minor hockey in Ajax. He was drafted in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, but his real NHL career began in the 2001-2002 NHL seasons with the Stars. Erskine then traded to the New York Islanders for defenceman Janne Niinimaa midway through the 2005-2006 season, but was not resigned by the Islanders at the end of the season. Erskine then became a free agent and signed with the Washington Capitals in September of 2006, where he remained until an injury kept him off the ice for the 2014-2015 season.
Erskine was reportedly heading home to Elginburg, where he resides with his wife and children, from a Napanee Raiders championship game at the time of the crash.
Kingstonist will update this article with more details as information becomes available.
With files from Cris Vilela.