NEW CANAAN - A local hockey coach is expressing concern for his former player who was leveled during an NHL game.

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, originally from New Canaan, suffered a cracked vertebra and a severe concussion after getting hit in a game earlier this week. Pacioretty, 22, was checked into a padded partition at the end of the bench and remained motionless on the ice for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.

Longtime coach Bo Hickey says Pacioretty was a special player and believes that he will play again. 

Pacioretty is recovering after being released from a Canadian hospital yesterday. 

Police in Montreal launched a criminal investigation yesterday into the hit by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was penalized in the game but not suspended by the league.

New Canaan hockey player remains hospitalized