A vicious attack on a Saskatoon referee may actually have saved his life, after doctors examined him and noticed a brain tumour.

Doctors first treated Dale Neudorf for a broken nose and split lip -- injuries he suffered when hockey player Nolan Crighton allegedly cross-checked him in the face.

"The whole incident of the game is a little bit fuzzy," Neudorf told reporters Thursday.

The attack happened during a recreational game near Meadow Lake, Sask., and RCMP officers are still looking for Crighton.

But Neudorf said he feels no anger towards Crighton, who he has refereed for years.

"If somebody cranked you over the head with a shovel or something and put you in the hospital, and they accidentally found something -- I think everyone in this room would be happy if it was found, no matter the circumstance surrounding," said Neudorf.

Doctors at Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital gave Neudorf numerous tests after treating his facial injuries, when they made the alarming discovery.

"The CAT scan picked up that I do have a tumour growing right in the middle of my brain, it looks like," said Neudorf.

"They're not sure what it is, how long it's been there or how fast it's growing."

Neudorf's wife, Leanne, said she's thankful for the bizarre twist of fate that led to the medical examination.

"Maybe we wouldn't have known otherwise until it was too late," she told reporters.

Doctors say they will likely operate on the tumour, but Neudorf said he wants to get back to refereeing as soon as he can.

With a report by CTV Saskatoon's Jennifer Jellico