In his first press conference since entering the NHL/NHL Players’ Association joint player assistance program in October 2021, the star goalie revealed his career is in jeopardy due to a lingering knee injury.
“I’m obviously a little bit anxious myself to find out some answers,” Price said Sunday. “I don’t have them right now, but we’ll find out soon enough.”
Fans at the Laurier Park skating rink in Montreal expressed sadness about the idea of Price never playing again.
“It would be very sad,” said Kasper Ciepala while taking a break from playing hockey. “It’s very unfortunate because I think he’s won everything. He deserves a Cup.”
Price made the revelation when he spoke to the media for the first time since entering the NHL’s player assistance program for substance use.
“I was in a position where I definitely needed to reach out,” said Price. “It was a trying time for sure.
“But at the end of the day, it was one (decision) that I knew that had to be made and ultimately it was successful and I’m very thankful for the help that I got.”
He revealed his recovery from a knee injury that required offseason surgery is not going well. He’s had setbacks, and acknowledged that though he is hoping to return this season, the knee could keep him from ever playing again.
Even if he does come back, Price said he worries about being able to play at high level again.
“I think it’s courageous and brave that he did this,” said sports psychologist Dr. Penny Werthner of the University of Calgary.
She believes his openness will help other athletes understand they’re not alone in navigating anxiety as they return from injury, and that help is available.
“I hope that athletes at all levels of sport understand there’s actually a skill set that can help you navigate that in a really healthy way,” she said.
She says for athletes, realizing your career may be over can be very jarring.
“Now you’ve got to think about ‘What I’m going to do for the rest of my life,’ which is still a significant amount of time, which is in some ways the good news, but in other ways, difficult to comprehend at this point, I’m sure,” Werthner told Global News
Price says being the Canadiens goalie is part of his identity.
“To put that sweater on again is something that you know, is keeping me motivated at this point,” he said.
With the team having an historically bad season, however, some fans wonder if Price would be better off finishing his career elsewhere in the event he makes a full recovery
“At the end of the day, he has to do whatever he feels like is the best for his career. If he has a shot of winning a cup somewhere else, I think I hope he does it,” said Simon Bourassa as he came off the ice at Laurier Park.
“He deserves all our respect,” said Ciepala, who agreed that he’d like to see Price win a Stanley Cup, even if it’s not with the Canadiens.