Former Oiler Speaks Out About His Dark Depression and How He Nearly Lost Himself

Published April 1, 2023 at 11:52

Ales Hemsky, a former Edmonton Oiler, was a prominent figure in the NHL during the 2000s, having played for three other teams as well. He spent the majority of his career with the Oilers, where he established himself as a key point-scorer for the team. Hemsky's performance peaked in 2005 and 2006, where he recorded an impressive 77 points.

Despite his initial success, Hemsky's effectiveness and physical wellbeing deteriorated over the course of his NHL career, and he ultimately ended his career with the Montreal Canadiens, playing just seven games in the 2017-2018 season.

In the years following his retirement from the NHL, Hemsky shared that he had experienced severe mental health issues, including depression and dark thoughts.

«At 35, the age when I had retired but wanted to keep playing, I was just aimlessly changing diapers and refusing to accept that hockey was over. When my son cried, I reacted with total irritation and anger toward my own child,» recalled Ales Hemsky.

"I saw nothing but emptiness everywhere. I may have made good money during my career, but what good is that if I lost something I love? What made me who I am? It seemed to me that I had lost the meaning of life even though I had a wonderful wife and son at home. I met probably all the conditions of depression, I really thought that I was not normal. At that time, I thought that I would end it all.»

"No one should be put in such a situation. If so, they should definitely tell someone about it. Find at least one person to whom you can tell that you have a problem. You don't even have to tell him everything in detail. I myself know how difficult it is. I've also always kept everything to myself.»

Transitioning to a post-NHL life can be incredibly difficult for any athlete, and it's not hard to imagine that it must have been especially tough for Ales Hemsky. After spending years as a top scorer and fan favorite for several NHL teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, Hemsky was forced to come to terms with the fact that his body could no longer withstand the rigors of professional hockey.

Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his career and post-retirement, Hemsky has shown remarkable strength by speaking out about his struggles with mental health. In particular, he has been candid about his battle with depression, and has become an advocate for others who may be experiencing similar challenges.

As he continues to work through his issues and seek the support he needs, we wish Mr. Hemsky all the best in his journey. He is truly one strong person for sharing his story and helping to raise awareness about mental health in the athletic community and beyond.
April 1   |   75 answers
Former Oiler Speaks Out About His Dark Depression and How He Nearly Lost Himself

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