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Olli Jokinen talks about staying sober

The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis spoke to Calgary Flames forward Olli Jokinen about a battle which Jokinen had previously preferred to keep to himself:

“I’ve been sober six years now,” a candid Jokinen told the Calgary Sun, sharing his alcohol issues publicly for the first time. “I don’t want to be one of those guys who sits in the bar after I’m done playing and says, ‘What if?’ I don’t like to use the word ‘if.’ Whatever the length of your career is going to be, you want to make the most out of it. You want to be in a position to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘I did everything I possibly could to be the best I could.’ ”

And that meant changing his lifestyle in many ways, starting with eliminating alcohol from his diet — not something many athletes openly discuss during their careers.

“I think quitting drinking was more about feeling good about myself,” the 33-year-old Calgary Flames centre said of a decision that came while he was still playing with the Panthers in Florida. “I didn’t like to have a hangover. It wasn’t like I would drink every day, but when you go out, you would get plastered up pretty good, and it would take two or three days to recover. When you get older, that gets even harder and harder — you can’t do that very often. I’d have a major headache for several days, and that was the part I didn’t enjoy.”

Continued

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com