An ex-CH player says he thought of ending his life

An ex-CH player says he thought of ending his life


In an emotional letter shared on Czech platform Bez Frazi, former NHL forward Ales Hemsky admitted to thinking about ending his life when he was facing retirement.

The aftermath of multiple concussions and a hip injury prompted Hemsky to hang up his skates in 2020. His final season on the Bettman circuit was played in a Montreal Canadiens uniform, a season during which he was limited to seven games. 

Hemsky went through a deep identity crisis when he realized that his hockey career was coming to an end. 

“I started to feel insignificant. I locked myself at home, almost never leaving the house. I didn't want to talk to anyone, not even my family or my friends.”

Even the birth of his son did not improve his condition at this time. 

< p>“I was 35 and I still wanted to play. I mechanically changed diapers, refusing to admit that my career was over. When the baby was crying, I was irritated.”

Hemsky's wife had to intervene.

“I had almost all the symptoms of depression,” Hemsky said. My wife realized that. She had already told me that she was worried about me. She made me understand that what I was going through was not normal. That it was unhealthy because I was already struggling with suicidal thoughts. […] All I saw was emptiness and no hope to hold on to.”

Thanks to the support of his partner, the former Olympiques de Hull in the QMJHL went for help. 

“In the end, my wife saved me.”

The last moments in Montreal < /p>

Hemsky also returned to the last moments of his career in the organization of the Canadiens, whose medical staff were of great help, according to him. During a game in Anaheim, the Czech remembers being hit hard by Corey Perry, which caused bouts of dizziness. 

“The Canadiens' medical staff is top notch, even by NHL standards,” Hemsky said. They really took care of me and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. To treat my vertigo, they even took me to a doctor who treats veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The doctor gave me eye-tracking glasses to to record their movement during my bouts of vertigo. He projected several rotating three-dimensional objects onto a screen to make me dizzy. 

“It still makes me sick. It was as if the whole planet was spinning. I had never felt so sick. I panicked. I thought my life was in danger. I grabbed onto the table and begged him to call the ambulance because I was going to pass out.

“He got me some fresh air. I lay down for an hour before completely coming to my senses. I realized that I was not well.”

Something was obviously wrong. Magnetic resonance imaging tests have also shown that part of his brain was not functioning normally. Hemsky continued to skate with the CH, but as time progressed, it became more apparent that he would not return to the game. When his wife, then pregnant, returned home to Dallas, the organization offered Hemsky to follow her. 

“I stayed to complete my rehab and to have no regrets,” Hemsky said. This is how my contract with the CH ended.”

Read the full letter from Ales Hemsky.