I wasn’t feeling like myself and it was one of the scariest times of my life.All I’ve ever really wanted to do was help people and especially younger players coming up in the game.
There was a point in my life where I didn’t think that that would be possible.
You see there was a time where I could barely look after myself or even get out of bed on some days, let alone give advice to anyone else.
There was a time in my life, and during my playing career, that If given the choice would have rather stayed in the dressing room bathroom than to step out onto the ice.
At the start of my 8th pro season, I knew that something was wrong, I mean really wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what it was, but I was too scared to open up, admit it and get help.
I had lost all my confidence, all my drive, all my energy and I could barely focus on the simplest tasks, doing the most basic drill or making a routine tape to tape pass was borderline impossible during this stretch of time.
Playing hockey during this period of my life was not only no longer enjoyable, but it had turned into a daily nightmare, my only goal for any game or practice was to just survive and get back home safe and sound.
It turned out that what was wrong, was that I had been battling a demon that I never saw coming. That demon showed up in the form of severe depression and an anxiety disorder.
And the worst part was, that I was dealing with this demon all alone. How could I tell anyone on my team or in management that I was scared to play the game I loved, scared to play the game they were paying me to play.
There was a time in my life that fear and anxiety ruled everything I did. And there was a time in my life and I can’t even believe this as I write it, that I was actually terrified to step into a hockey rink.
I was terrified that people would find out what I was going through, terrified that people would think that I was weak and call me “soft” and terrified that my performance was at such an all time low that I would be released, and lose the job I once loved and worked my entire life to get.
It may seem like things are all roses and sunshine on instagram and on my videos, but let me tell you, I’ve been through some shit in this life. And I know from talking to and working with hundreds of players around the world, that everyone has their own shit going on as well.
So all the messages people send me and the problems that I hear players have to go through, really hit home, and hit home in a big way. I told myself that if I ever got on the other side of my issues that I would dedicate a portion of my life to helping others do the same.
Well, that day has come and has been here for a while – and although I’ve wanted to help players in this fashion for some time now I just couldn’t find the right way to do it.
It’s often said that people need to go through a catastrophic event to finally wake up, take action and make changes in their life. I know that this was the case for me, I wished it wasn’t but it was and i’ll forever be grateful for it.
This was one of the main drivers for me putting together the Hockey Pro Training Academy. I didn’t want players to have to go through all the stuff that I went through, and more importantly I didn’t want them to go through it alone like I did.
I remember talking with my father in law after a big game one night, when I was pretty much at my worst, and telling him that I wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy. Not even for a second.
That’s all I could think to say and all I had to say, he probably didn’t understand but he didn’t have to, he saw the look on my face and the pain in my eyes and knew I was in trouble, I will be forever grateful to him and many other people in my life who were there for me when I needed them the most.
Opening up and telling him how I felt and knowing that I had him in my corner was a huge weight off my shoulders, he had played the game at a pro level himself for a long time and I wasn’t sure that he would understand.
And even though he couldn’t fully relate to what I was going though, he made it loud and clear that he had my back and my full support no matter what happened or how bad things got. And things got pretty bad, and he was always there. People’s word to me is everything as is mine to anyone I give it to.
Opening up and talking about my struggles was the start of my healing journey. I learned the hard way that you cannot solve all of your problems on your own, it’s just not possible, everyone needs a helping hand from time to time.
I thought I was a “big strong hockey player” who didn’t need anyones help. That line of thinking only dug my hole deeper and made my problems worse.
One thing that I’ve come to learn now that I’m on the other side of all this. Is that struggle, pain and hard times aren’t the end or even the worst thing in the world, they are actually only the beginning and a blessing if looked at in the proper light and something that I wouldn’t change going through even if I could.
My hard times didn’t break me, they made me who I am today, and today I’m confident, focused and on most days unshakable, and you can be too. It just takes work and a willingness to keep going no matter what.
I’ve actually put together an entire program to help hockey players achieve this same level of confidence, focus and level of unshakability in just 6 short weeks. You can learn more about it by clicking here.