I did not expect the response I got from the first part of this series. Nor did I think I would even be turning that article into a “series”. At the time of writing this, “The dark side of hockey: What people never think of” has garnered over 100,000 views from all over the world. I’ve sifted through numerous comments, emails, tweets, and facebook messages in the time since and it’s just astounding at how real a problem this is, not just for hockey players but athletes in general.
I’ve had quite a few current and ex players reach out to me as well. In time, they’re going to share their own personal stories with me and I’ll pick out bits and pieces and put it into articles in the coming days and weeks. They’ll remain anonymous but if they want their name out there, that’s okay too. It’s important that younger players and other semi-professional players not only in North America but in Europe as well know that they are not alone in dealing with these trials and tribulations of living out of a suitcase.
Being a hockey player is a huge undertaking that most people don’t realize and it starts at a very young age. Even if you’re lucky enough to make it to the NHL or even the AHL, there’s no amount of money you can pay someone for your sanity. Mental illness is a real thing. It’s not going to go away. It’s time to end the stigma.
I’m not just going to focus on our younger junior and major junior players as I’ve said before. The help is slowly coming out for them. It’s our professionals who are in their twenties or thirties that don’t know which way to turn when hockey is all they’ve ever known. Sure their teammates are like brothers but some don’t feel comfortable opening up about things they deal with on the road, with the team, in a different country, not getting paid, changing teams, dealing with messed up contracts etc.
Anyway, I just wanted to touch base a little bit on the responses I’ve been getting. I’ve read everything single comment, emails, message I’ve been sent and I can’t thank you enough for your support. Let’s try and get mainstream media behind this.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @MarchHockey or through the facebook page www.facebook.com/MarchHockey and drop me a line!