March 23, 2023
Canadiens' Carey Price reveals recent struggles with alcoholism

Canadiens’ Carey Price reveals recent struggles with alcoholism

Superstar goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens Carey Price has finally shed some light on the issues that prompted him to seek help and retire from hockey last season.

In an interview with The Athletic’s Arpon Basu, Price spoke about his battle with alcoholism that led him to join the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program just over a year ago.

“I think after we lost in the final (2021) and got close to a goal and had surgery and I knew I’m right on the 18th hole (of my career) here, I wasn’t a happy person, I was’ I was not a good father. I’ve been drinking a lot,” Price said. “I just got to a point where I was like, ‘I don’t even enjoy doing this.’ Like, “What do I do?” I felt like I had reached a point in my life where I needed to make a decision.”

That point came in early October when the 35-year-old decided to make a change and get help.

“It would have been October 3rd and when I woke up I felt pretty bad,” he told Basu. “And I was just like, you know what? This doesn’t work for me; it doesn’t work for my family.”

The following Thursday, October 7, Price had voluntarily committed himself to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Basu gave Price an opportunity to avoid the subject in her interview, but the Vancouver native was keen to talk about it.

“I think most of it, I see it in sports and in high stress positions, there’s a lot of pressure on athletes these days, I think even more with social media, media attention, you’re always under scrutiny,” he said. “And I think no matter how well you handle it, it’s still on your mind, the pressure to perform.

“It’s not easy to do that day in and day out. Yes, it’s fun, but you’re still doing a job and you have to perform at your best every day. It’s something you strive for as an athlete, you love doing it, but it It’s not particularly easy, especially when things aren’t going so well.”

The 2015 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner had to adjust to a new lifestyle and take on new challenges in the months following his rehab.

“Once I leave the facility it’s something new, you look forward to it. But over the next six months, I felt like I thought about it a lot, I thought about it a lot,” Price said. “Not to say I was ready to jump off the wagon, but I can understand why the success rate isn’t that great. But I look up to my kids every day and I’m able not to waste any more mornings of my life and to be able to wake up on Sunday morning and cook pancakes for my kids is something very fulfilling for me.”

Price also understands the importance of speaking publicly about his alcoholism and the impact the conversation can have on First Nations communities in particular – a group he holds dear as a descendant of the Ulkatcho First Nation.

“Substance abuse was a very big problem in First Nations communities. I’ve had friends and family members who died from it,” he said. “So I could have done that privately. Nobody would ever have known about it. But at the end of the day, I wanted to be able to show that it’s okay to ask for help.”

Speaking to reporters Monday, Price shed light on his current injury status and uncertain future as a player.

“We have to go step by step. I have no plan to retire right now,” Price said. “Right now my goal is to be pain free from day to day. I still have some trouble going up and down stairs and carrying my children up and down stairs is difficult. So my first priority is just getting my body pain free on a daily basis.

“There’s this outward hope for a miracle that maybe someday I could come back and play.”

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