another sad summer
Last year it was the abruptness of legendary NHL goon Bob Probert’s passing. This year, two more sudden losses to pro hockey, but without a heart attack to blame; this year, two players took their own lives: Derek Boogard of the NY Rangers in May, and now Rick Rypien of the Vancouver.
In the thick of post-season trades, training, try-outs and salary caps, it’s easy to think the best of the NHL. A new season is on its way, and every team has the same goal, to win the Stanley Cup. But some players don’t come back to the dressing room, a trend that is gracefully addressed in this piece by Ian Brown from The Toronto Globe and Mail.
Hope. It keeps players in the game, down to the final minutes of the playoffs. It also deserts people who go through clinical depression. Hope becomes your enemy, because why would you hope for another day of feeling incomprehensibly pained by your own suffering.
That players like Rypien, with access to team physicians, and the kind of health insurance that can get you seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist, a support network of teammates and coaches, and we assume a loving family can lose hope is tragic. That at 27 he could not get relief from his mental anguish makes me both sad and angry. Too many lives are touched by suicide, depression, drugs, pain, isolation.
This season, sure I’ll hope the hometown team goes all the way and wins the cup. But I’ll also hope I don’t have to read another needless hockey obituary.