Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price announced on Tuesday that he entered a residential treatment facility for substance use. He released the announcement on his Instagram account.
“Over the last few years I have let myself get to a very dark place and I didn’t have the tools to cope with that struggle,” the 34-year-old said Tuesday in a statement released by the team. “Last month I made the decision to enter a residential treatment facility for substance use. Things had reached a point that I realized I needed to prioritize my health for both myself and for my family. Asking for help when you need it is what we encourage our kids to do. And it was what I needed to do.
“I am working through years of neglecting my own mental health which will take some time to repair; all I can do is take it day by day. With that comes some uncertainty with when I will return to play.”
Price met with his Canadiens teammates on Tuesday for the first time since entering the the NHL’s player assistance program.
“It was great to see him, he’s doing well,” head coach Dominique Ducharme said, according to NHL.com. “For our players, we’re together every day so we have a good group of players and they take care of each other. And to see a teammate come back like that, it’s positive for the guys. Obviously while he was gone we had no news about him, so to see him again and to see him in a good state of mind, that’s positive.”
Price met with the Canadiens medical staff on Sunday so they could take a look at his surgically repaired knee.
“Obviously he didn’t go to a physical conditioning center,” Ducharme said. “The training equipment he had available to him was not what we have here. But he found ways every day to keep in shape. So physically we’re happy to see where he’s at because we had no idea what he was able to do or did. He was able to stay pretty active.”
“He’s got many things to do right now, so I don’t think he’s going to be on the trip because there are steps that he needs to be taking,” Ducharme said. “So I think it’s important that we focus on that first before going on the road with the team. … He needs to get back in the gym. He had an injury that the therapists are happy to see where he’s at right now with that, so he needs to get back to work and do specific work on that.”
Ducharme said that there are four steps that Price will have to take before starting a game: working out in the gym, skating, exercising with goalie coach Eric Raymond, and practicing with the team.
Price did not participate in training camp after having arthroscopic surgery on July 23 to repair a torn meniscus, with the Canadiens saying at the time his full recovery was expected to take 10-12 weeks.
“I appreciate all of the overwhelming support and well wishes,” Price said Tuesday. “I please ask that the media and our hockey community continue to respect our privacy at this time. Your support and respect of this so far has been a critical piece to my recovery.”
By Harrison Brown