Here at TXHT we believe in bringing you the best Hockey News and we normally stay away from something that is a menial topic or has emotional implications because it’s more of an opinion than solid news.
But the topic we will hit on tonight is a very important one, I will not try to convince anyone of its importance but will just discuss those who have been affected by Addiction and Mental Health. I will leave their stories in hopes that we all can see that these professional athletes are people just like everyone else and that Mental Health and Addiction shows no bias, it affects everyone. Let’s start taking a look at these stories.
(Source: Getty Images)
Rick Rypien – (May 16, 1984 – August 15, 2011)
Known most prominently for his hitting and fighting, Rypien started his career off with playing four years for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, then signed a professional contract to play for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League in 2005. The following season Rypien would sign with the Vancouver Canucks and split the next 6 seasons between the Canucks and the Moose. He then signed with the Jets in 2010 but never made it to training camp. Rypien was scheduled to get on a plane to Winnipeg but was found dead in his apartment with what was ruled later as suicide.
His battle with Clinical depression was well known to everyone including close friend Kevin Bieksa(Who has now started a website to commemorate his friend).
(Source: Adrian Wyld)
Wade Belak – (July 3, 1976 – August 31, 2011)
Belak was drafted 12th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, and the Nashville Predators in the National Hockey League (NHL).
August 31, 2011, Belak was found dead in a condo in Toronto. Police did not confirm a cause of his death, but Toronto Police treated it as a suicide.
After Belak’s death, his mother stated that he had been suffering from depression. Michael Landsberg reported that he had spoken with Belak one week before his death about their mutual depression and that Belak admitted having been on “happy pills” for the previous four to five years.
Derek Boogaard – (June 23, 1982 – May 13, 2011)
Boogaard played for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. His fighting prowess earned him the nicknames of “Boogeyman” and “The Mountie”, and made him a favorite with fans. At age 28 Boogaard from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose while recovering from a concussion. A posthumous examination of his brain found he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Once a promising player who was expected to have an impact on the game for years to come. Setoguchi managed a few successful seasons with the San Jose Sharks before being traded to Minnesota and then eventually demoted to the minors, Setoguchi found himself drinking two 26 ounce bottles of Jameson every day. This lead to a mental breakdown and ultimately rehab. Now sober he attempted a comeback with the LA Kings but it didn’t work out.
(Source: Getty Images)
From his time in junior hockey, he would start drinking every morning and every day. This eventually turned into heavy cocaine abuse, where Clune would wake up in a fit of tremors. He would eventually check himself into rehab, but walk at one point in denial of his addiction. He would eventually return to the same clinic and complete his treatment. He is completely sober and clean and has never relapsed.
Before the season began Austin Watson had been suspended 18 games for an altercation between him and his girlfriend, after pleading no contest to a domestic assault charge in July. His girlfriend, Jenn Guardino, issued a statement in October taking the blame for the incident in the parking lot of a gas station, saying she had struggled with alcoholism for years and was involved in AA. Watson shared an Instagram post stating that he’d been dealing with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism since the age of 18. He said that he was currently sober and committed to a “healthy lifestyle. Watson has been suspended again recently but not for any setbacks but so that he can complete stage two of the NHL’s substance abuse program
These are just some of the stories, I could go on for days. But let’s keep these things at the front of our minds. These are real people, no matter their pay grade. Mental health and Addictions are real issues that can find anyone, and affect their life drastically.