Hockey and Mental Health

Hockey is the best game on earth. Hockey players are the best people on earth. These guys are strong and play with and through pain. However there is one thing that can cripple these super human athletes. That one thing is mental health.

Throughout the years players have one by one come out and discussed their playing careers, and the face they played with depression and anxiety, some with one or the other and some with both. Then there are players who discuss having those same issues but only after they’ve played.  The list is long and some of these players have unfortunately passed on. The list includes (with teams played for):

Goaltender Robin Lehner ( Buffalo Sabres,  Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights), 

Forward Tyler motte (Vancouver canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets), Defenseman Nick Boynton (Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks), Goaltender Ben Meisner (minor league goaltender), Goaltender Corey Hirsch (Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars), Goaltender Clint Malarchuk (Buffalo Sabres, Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals), Kendra Fisher (Woman’s Canadian National Team), 

Defenseman Stephen Johns (Dallas Stars), Forward Derek Boogaard (Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers), Rick Rypien (Vancouver Canucks), Forward / Defenseman Wade Belak (Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators), Patrick O’Sullivan (Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes), Forward Jordan Tootoo (Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks), Kelly Hrudey (New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks), and finally Defenseman Darryl Ashdod. 

Unfortunately quite the list. There can be one name added to that list and that name is Jonathan Drouin. Drouin sought help last season while the Montreal Canadians were in Calgary peeping for that nights game with the Flames. Drouin participated in practice but look pale and wasn’t feeling right. He left practice and got help. That help caused him to miss the Stanley Cup finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He was then diagnosed with insomnia and anxiety. He took a leave of absence from the team to work on himself. He knew he needed help and didn’t want to draw attention to himself and more importantly take away attention form the Canadians trip to the finals.  Drouin, the Lightning’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft pick (round 1, pick 3), wants there to be more attention on a players mental health. He wants to be a voice for the players in helping find more help. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season Drouin only played a total of 71 games.

the National Hockey League teams and its players and coaches,over a decade ago,  joined to promote mental health awareness in a  “Hockey Talks” program.

The program was a tribute to former Vancouver Canucks player, Rick Rypien, who was diagnosed with  depression at a young age and ultimately passed away August 2011. 

Lehner had an interview with the Athletic about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). lehner sought help early and, even today, talk about his treatment and struggles with the diseases. He remains the most vocal about these struggles and the hopefuls of getting better each day.

The NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, founded in 1996, continues to be a support system for the NHL players, coaches and organizations. It is confidential, supporting players and the players families who struggle with drugs, alcohol dependency or mental health issues

Over 40 million American adults in the United States (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder, Anxiety disorders develop from a set of risk factors, ranging genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Anxiety, the body’s response to worry and fear. There is a multitude of anxiety disorders that cause anxiety, worry, and stress because of social interactions, personal health, work, or a particular phobia.

If you know anyone with an anxiety, depression or substance abuse issue please get them help. These are crippling diseases that can take over someone’s life. 

We recommend visiting CALM if you feel you not quite yourself.

You may also like...