OHL's Fanelli released from hospital

KITCHENER, Ontario -- Minor league defenseman Ben Fanelli was continuing his recovery from skull and facial fractures after being released from the hospital over the weekend.

The 16-year-old Kitchener Rangers defenseman was injured when he was boarded by Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas during an Ontario Hockey League game on Oct. 30. Fanelli's helmet flew off and he fell unconscious to the ice after the heavy hit.

Liambas was assessed a match penalty for boarding and was later suspended for the season.

Fanelli had been in a hospital since the hit, starting off in critical condition in intensive care. He improved steadily and was released late Friday night.

"This is obviously an emotional day for the Fanelli family, our organization and community and really for the entire Ontario Hockey League's players and fans," Rangers COO Steve Bienkowski said in a statement on the team's Web site on Sunday. "It is still very early in Ben's recovery that will include outpatient treatments at the hospital along with additional supporting treatments at home."

Fanelli's mother, Susan, was grateful to the team for its help.

"The support from the Kitchener Rangers organization has been wonderful," she said in the team's statement. "We are so appreciative it is hard to express."