Player dies after fight

1/5/2009 - NHL

PORT PERRY, Ontario -- A hockey player who died after hitting his head on the ice during a fight was mourned by 500 people Monday at a funeral attended by commentator Don Cherry and teammates wearing club jerseys.

Don Sanderson died Friday at 21. The York University student lapsed into a coma following a Dec. 12 fight during an Ontario Hockey Association game at Brantford. The service was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Sanderson's hometown of Port Perry.

Sanderson was injured when his helmet fell off and the back of his head struck the ice. The rookie defenseman played for the Whitby Dunlops, who compete at the highest level of senior amateur hockey in Canada.

Cherry offered condolences to Sanderson's parents during Saturday night's "Hockey Night In Canada" broadcast. At that game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, players paid tribute to Sanderson, tapping their sticks on the ice as his image was shown on the video screen.

"It shows you how the hockey community, they're a family, and how we feel," Cherry said outside the service.