For the first time since entering the NHL/NHLPA’s joint player assistance program, Carey Price addressed Montreal Canadiens fans.
The Habs star goaltender released a statement this evening detailing why he entered the program in early October.
“Over the last few years I have let myself get to a very dark place and I didn’t have the tools to cope with that struggle,” said Price via Instagram.
“Last month I made the decision to enter a residential treatment facility for substance use. Things had reached a point that I realized I needed to prioritize my health for both myself and for my family. Asking for help when you need it is what we encourage our kids to do. And it was what I needed to do.”
“I am working through years of neglecting my own mental health which will take some time to repair; all I can do is take it day by day. With that comes some uncertainty with when I will return to play.”
“I appreciate all of the overwhelming support and well wishes. I please ask the media and our hockey community (to) continue to respect our privacy at this time. Your support and respect of this so far has been a critical piece to my recovery.”
Price was back interacting with his teammates and coaches this morning in Brossard. It was the third day the Montreal Canadiens goaltender returned the South Shore complex to be evaluated by the team’s training staff since completing the league’s 30-day program.
In his desire for privacy, Price did not elaborate on what substance abuse he was dealing with. Nor should he until he decides he is comfortable enough to do so. But with the tragic death of former NHLer Jimmy Hayes of a drug overdose still fresh in the collective minds of the NHL community, it is encouraging just to know that Price is getting the help he needs.
Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme detailed at practice this morning that the club is following a specific plan in regards to Price’s continued recovery from off-season knee surgery as well as the program. Price will start working out off ice in the gym then move to individual on-ice recovery. Next is work with goaltending coach Eric Raymond and then finally practice with his teammates. Ducharme said the team isn’t following any specific timetable for Price’s return.
All Habs fans can do is wait on their star goaltender’s eventual return. And be thankful that he finally made the decision to get the help that he has needed for some time.