Kenneth Ochi is a Dentist from Southern California who was contacted by the trainer of the Los Angeles Kings and asked to become the team’s official Dentist, a job which required him to be on standby for all 41 games of the season. At first Ochi declined the offer, stating that he did not want to attend the games of a sport that didn’t interest him. Due to this particular trainer’s perseverance, however, Dr. Ochi eventually accepted the offer. This was unknown territory for the Californian Dentist who was entering unknown territory and not quite sure what to expect. His relatively uneventful private practice career would give way to a much more challenging job.
On Ochi’s first day of work, Ryan Callahan, Center for the New York Rangers, was attempting to check King’s Center Anze Kopitar when suddenly things went very wrong. Kopitar turned, causing Callahan to crash mouth-first into his stick blade. He immediately left the ice and went to the Staples Center to find the on-call Dentist. He was aware he suffered from severe damage, mainly because he caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the mirror.
After Callahan was given a local anesthetic, Doctor Ochi started assessing the damage. Callahan’s mouth had a very deep gash and his gums were torn apart, but thankfully, no teeth were damaged. The wound was so deep that Ochi could see the contrast between the white color of the jaw bone and the bright red of the surrounding blood and shredded gums. Even today, Callahan still claims that the injury causes him quite a lot of pain.
Being a Dentist for the NHL is a unique and challenging experience. Broken teeth, sliced cheeks, shattered jawbones and ripped gums are all to be expected. But the rewards and clout that go along with such a prestigious position, many dentists claim, is priceless.