An off-duty paramedic is being honoured at an NHL game Tuesday evening after saving the life of man who suffered a heart attack at an arena in Mt. Brydges.

It's an opportunity paramedic Dale Blanchard could have never imagined, "Being a die-hard Leafs fan, it's unreal."

In December, 47-year-old Gary Smits was playing a pick-up hockey game when he felt some chest pain, but continued to play.

Then as the Medway High School teacher skated back onto the ice for another shift, he passed out.

Fortunately, Blanchard, who works with Middlesex-London EMS, was among those playing in the same game, and Smits is thankful he was there,  "If it wasn't for his actions, I could possibly not be here today."

Blanchard is a spare in the league, called in when a team needs a goaltender, but it didn't take long for him to forget about his goaltending skills and put all his focus into his paramedic skills, "You don't really think about it at the time, your instincts just kick in."

As team members began CPR and called 911, Blanchard got the arena’s defibrillator equipment, and used it to restart Smits’ heart.

Doctors later told Smits one artery was 80 per cent blocked, and without help it could have been a lot worse.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton detailed the incident at the Ontario legislature in February, saying “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dale Blanchard and his teammates for his bravery and quick action, which undoubtedly saved Gary Smits’ life.”