Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/05/13 at 04:08 PM ET
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
My journalism career began toward the end of Gino Odjick’s NHL career, so I never had a chance to cover him in any great depth. But thanks to his Twitter account, I’ve come to know him a little bit.
And what I’ve seen from him I love a whole lot. He’s a proud and caring First Nations leader, an incredibly positive person and, perhaps most of all, a protector. That’s who he was on the ice for 12 NHL seasons. That’s who he is to this day.
And that’s why it was so tough to hear about Odjick’s recent mental health struggles. Odjick’s stay in a Quebec psychiatric hospital – his second trip to such a unit since September – alarmed his close friends and business partners. According to the article, Odjick and his friends attribute his woes to the concussions he suffered as one of hockey’s most feared enforcers.
But now that the 43-year-old is in a vulnerable state, who is the enforcer protecting him? That’s supposed to be the rest of us, folks. And by “us”, I mean the same fans who stood and cheered him with every thrown and absorbed punch; simply because we purchased tickets to watch him play doesn’t mean we can forget about him now, too. Yes, Odjick is responsible for his actions and the choices he made, but anyone who callously says “he knew the risks” and just forgets about him hasn’t owned up to their complicity in the post-career condition of players.
But more importantly, by “us”, I also mean the NHL, which profited off of those punches.
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