PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 25: Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with Sidney Crosby #87 and Ian Cole #28 after scoring a goal agianst Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators in the second overtime with a score of 3 to 2 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 25, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

(SP) – A study released today by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has revealed that NHL playoff overtimes have surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death among Canadian citizens.

“We are losing tens of thousands of people each spring to heart attacks brought on by sudden death overtimes in the playoffs,” said CIHR director Roger Gaudreau. “And when it happens in Game 7’s, the body count is really piling up.”

The CIHR study projects even higher death rates this spring.

“Unlike most years, we actually had some Canadian teams make the playoffs,” said Gaudreau. “The Maple Leafs lost twice in overtime and then, of course, the Senators lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in double OT. The 911 center in Ottawa actually went down last night because there were too many calls to handle. The death toll is unimaginable.”

CIHR officials hope the results of the study can lead to education in Canada and cut down on the death rate.

“Outside of the NHL doing away with sudden death overtime in the playoffs, there is unfortunately not too much we can do,” said Gaudreau. “Mainly, I think we must educate the Canadian public and let them know that our teams are probably never going to win anything, so it’s best not to get too invested in the playoffs.”

If successful, NHL playoff overtimes can again drop below heart disease, moose attacks and politely stepping in front of a bus to stop the bus from hitting another person as the country’s top killers.