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Ice hockey goalie is lucky to be alive after stick hit

Russian ice hockey team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg were fined $34,000 this week for "failing to provide adequate security" after one of their fans leapt on to the rink and whacked a visiting player over the head with his own stick.

Towards the end of the first period in Sunday's Continental Hockey League (KHL) play-off game against Salavat Yulayev Ufa, a home fan jumped over protective glass boards and attacked reserve Ufa goaltender Vitaly Kolesnik.

"I guess I was lucky," said Kolesnik, who suffered a deep cut but escaped a serious injury.

"Doctors who treated me said if the hit was just a centimetre or two to the side, I could have been dead or left paralysed," added the 30-year-old Kazakh, who played for Colorado Avalanche in the NHL in 2005-06.

Ufa coach Igor Zakharkin said: "It looked like that mad guy kept hitting our player with a baseball bat. The blood was all over the place. We're still in shock. No wonder we lost (4-3)."

The teams were back on the ice 24 hours later, with several hundred police and security personnel inside the arena.

Monday's game went without incident, Ufa crushing the home team 8-1 to clinch the series 3-1 and advance to the conference semi-finals.