Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price revealed some of the reasons that prompted him to step away from the ice last season.
In a recent interview with The Athletic, Price talked about his struggle with alcoholism that caused him to join the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance program.
“I think after we lost in the  Finals and coming close to a goal and having a surgery, and knowing I’m right on the 18th hole [of my career] Here, I was not a happy person,” Price said ‘I wasn’t being a good father. I was drinking a lot. I just got to a point where I was like, ‘I’m not even having fun doing this.’ Like, ‘what am I doing?’ I felt like I was getting to a point in my life where I had to make a decision.”
The 35-year-old goalie who has played 15 seasons in Montreal voluntarily admitted himself into a residential rehabilitation facility on Oct. 7, 2021. Price spoke about how the stress of being a professional athlete played a role in his choice.
“There’s a lot of pressure on athletes these days, I think even more so with social media, media attention, you’re always under the microscope,” he said. “And I think no matter how good you are at dealing with it, it’s still a weight on your mind, the pressure to perform.”
Price has since left the facility, but understands the challenges that come with his new lifestyle as well as the impact he could have on others struggling with substance abuse.
“Once I left the facility, it’s something new, you’re excited about it. But that next six months, I felt like it was on my mind a lot, I was thinking about it a lot,” Price said. “Not to say I was ready to jump off the wagon, but I can see why the success rate, it’s not that great. But I look at my kids every day and to be able to not be wasting mornings of my life anymore and able to wake up on Sunday morning and cook my kids pancakes is something very fulfilling to me.”
Price said he has had friends and family pass away because of substance abuse and sees it as a very big issues in Canada’s First Nation communities. It’s one the reasons he made how he dealt with it so public.
“I could have done this privately,” Price said. “Nobody ever would have known about it. But at the end of the day, I wanted to be able to show it’s OK to ask for help.”
The 2015 Hart and Vezina winner is still dealing with a lingering knee issue that has kept him out of the crease this season, but he is not ready to call it a career just yet.
“We’ll have to take it step by step. I don’t have a plan to retire right at this moment,” Price said. “There’s that outside hope of a miracle happening, that maybe I could come back out and play at some point.”