CHELYABINSK, Russia - Michael Garnett had hit the snooze button on his alarm clock, hoping to catch a few more minutes of sleep before heading to hockey practice Friday morning, when a tremendous blast jolted him out of bed.

The walls of his apartment in Chelyabinsk — the biggest city affected by a meteor that streaked over Russia's Ural Mountains — were shuddering as he heard glass shattering and car alarms going off outside.

"My light fixtures were swaying back and forth. At that point I was just terrified," said the Saskatoon native, who plays in the professional Kontinental Hockey League for the Traktor Chelyabinsk.

"I thought either it was an explosion or a plane crash."

When he was able to collect himself, the 30-year-old looked out his window and saw a trace of the meteor that had torn through the sky moments earlier.

"I saw a huge streak across the sky. I didn't really know what was going on," he said.

The Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons — entered the Earth's atmosphere going at least 54,000 kilometres per hour. It shattered about 30-50 kilometres above the ground, its sonic booms blasting out countless windows, damaging vehicles and other property.

By Friday evening local time, a health official in Chelyabinsk, a city of 1 million about 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow, said 985 people had asked for medical assistance and 43 were hospitalized for injuries related to the meteor's explosion. Many were treated for cuts from broken glass.

It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by space fragments.

Garnett decided to drive hockey practice less than an hour after being woken by the meteor's fall to find out more about what had happened.

"It was like a bomb went off, you drive down the street and you look up at the apartments, and a lot of these buildings are from the Soviet era, and there's just windows blown out. It's just crazy." he said.

When he got to the arena he plays in, some of Garnett's teammates told him they'd seen the meteor explode.

"They were driving on the street when this happened and they saw it," he recounted.

"It was just a giant fireball basically coming through the sky that lit up the entire sky, brighter than the sun, like a blinding light that shot across, left a huge tail and then was followed by a huge boom."

The team's arena was among the 3,000 buildings that were damaged in the city, but Garnett said no one he knew was among the injured.

The Canadian goalie has played in Chelyabinsk for two seasons and has played in Russia for five. He played briefly in the NHL for the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005-06.

As the city he lives in scrambles to deal with Friday's near-surreal experience, Garnett and his teammates are trying to focus on getting back on the ice once their arena re-opens.

"It was a little strange. But what do you do?" he said. "Life goes on I guess."

— By Diana Mehta in Toronto

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  • In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera, on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, provided by Nasha Gazeta newspaper, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 a meteorite contrail is seen. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Nasha gazeta, www.ng.kz)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo provided by E1.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over a vilage of Bolshoe Sidelnikovo 50 km of Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Nadezhda Luchinina, E1.ru)

  • In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera a meteor streaks through the sky over Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 10 tons (11 tons) streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more. (AP Photo/AP Video)

  • A man in Moscow looks at a computer screen displaying a picture reportedly taken in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013, showing the trail of a meteorite above a residential area of the city. A heavy meteor shower rained down today on central Russia, sowing panic as the hurtling space debris smashed windows and injured dozens of stunned locals, officials said. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a woman cleans away glass debris from a window after a meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia on Friday, causing a shockwave that blew out windows injuring hundreds of people and sending fragments falling to the ground in the Ural Mountains. The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement hours after the Friday morning fall that the meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground. The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. (AP Photo/ Yevgenia Yemelyanova, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • A local resident repairs a window broken by a shock wave from a meteor explosion in Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 10 tons (11 tons) streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more. (AP Photo/Boris Kaulin)

  • Cars pass by a zinc factory building with it's roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. There was no immediate clarification of whether the collapse was caused by meteorites or by a shock wave from one of the explosions. A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 10 tons (11 tons) streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more. (AP Photo/Boris Kaulin)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed after a meteorite exploded over in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Oleg Kargapolov, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • FILE - In this 1953 file photo, trees lie strewn across the Siberian countryside 45 years after a meteorite struck the Earth near Tunguska, Russia. The 1908 explosion is generally estimated to have been about 10 megatons; it leveled some 80 million trees for miles near the impact site. The meteor that streaked across the Russian sky Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, is estimated to be about 10 tons. It exploded with the power of an atomic bomb over the Ural Mountains, about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) west of Tunguska. (AP Photo, File)