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Thoughts On Dying

from Nick Boynton at The Players' Tribune,

I’ve thought about death a lot over the past few years.

About dying. And what it might be like if I wasn’t around.

I’ve struggled a ton since I retired from hockey in 2011, and I’ve faced a bunch of different personal demons. But recently I’ve been unable to shake thoughts of….

Steve Montador.

Wade Belak.

Derek Boogaard.

Rick Rypien.

I knew those guys. They were real people to me.

They played the same game I did, and when it was all said and done … they were really just suffering, man.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+boynton


Tripwire32's avatar

The Players’ Tribune Always good stuff from this. Thanks Paul!

Nick Boynton

Welcome to the rest of us. Billions of people are dealing with the same/similar issues, and few of them played professional sports.

I appreciate him telling his story and I understand he’s looking for something to blame / a source for his ills (though I don’t deny his profession didn’t exacerbate underlying issues), but he’s laying it all at the feet of sport. Where there are numerous instances of people dealing with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, or a combination of the three, that haven’t suffered repetitive blows to the head. The growing preponderance of these ailments across all demographics suggests there is another issue at play. I wish him all the best, but the problem is broader in scope. I wish he would speak out for everyone, not just those in the nhl circle.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 06/13/18 at 09:50 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Good points Trip. 

His story is definitely not a good one and is unfortunate to read about.  I do also know people with similar stories who have not suffered a brain injury, though.  This isn’t to say that the NHL shouldn’t eliminate the most dangerous and long-standing consequence of the game, but it is worth mentioning that it could be a low-contact sport and the athletes still could have issues. 

I don’t mind fighting, but it’s the un-anticipated hits to the head that really bother me in hockey (similar to what Boynton mentioned), and many of the hits in football.  The way to reduce or eliminate these hits is to fully stick to the rules and give out meaningful suspensions - not just a 2 or 5 or 10 minute penalty and a 1 or 2 game suspension.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/13/18 at 12:39 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

It’s a tough time in america right now.  Make sure you reach out to those you haven’t spke to in a while. They might need a bit of encouragement.  Be a friend. .... now damn it…

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 06/13/18 at 10:59 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Hey, who’d have thought that Gary Bettman posts here!

Seriously. In spite of the political climate, real life is not binary and pathologies can be more complex than a single pathway for all. Hell, my father-in-law never smoked in his life, yet he passed away at a young age from a fast moving, aggressive lung cancer. That in no way negates the fact that smoking tobacco is a causative agent in the development of many cancers.

A hockey player who has absorbed multiple blows to the head, and is part of a sub-community of players that have developed CTE at a high rate, with very real consequences in many cases, is reflecting on his concerns. I can’t understand marginalizing his message. In no way does it lessen the importance of depression to others outside of the sport who didn’t end up in a bad way as a result of head shots.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/14/18 at 08:01 PM ET

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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.

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