Canadiens goaltender Carey Price voluntarily enters player assistance program
MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is voluntarily entering the NHL’s player assistance program for an unspecified reason.
The NHL/NHLPA Players’ Association made the announcement Thursday morning ahead of a news conference held by general manager Marc Bergevin.
"It's been hard," Bergevin said while trying to hold back tears when asked about how he's dealing with the news given his nine-year relationship with Price.
It's expected the star goalie will be in the assistance program for at least 30 days. The program can be extended further.
The emotionally distraught GM praised Price, as well as forward Jonathan Drouin, for stepping back to deal with their struggles. Drouin is rejoining the team after taking a five-month break for personal reasons that he said were due to battles with anxiety and insomnia.
Bergevin said he was "caught off guard" after finding out about Price's decision on Wednesday.
"If there's other players in the NHL, who have different issues, whatever that is, I think the NHL and the NHLPA are really looking at the well-being of their players, and I commend them to do that," he said.
"[Jonathan Drouin], and Carey and his family, you know, he's got three kids and his wife, so I think we need to support them, we need to respect their privacy and wish him the best."
"I believe better days ahead for Carey and his family."
Head coach Dominique Ducharme had indicated a day before that he did not expect Price to join his teammates at practice before the season begins.
Price is recovering from knee surgery following an operation on July 23.
'PUTTING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH FIRST'
Price's wife, Angela Price, posted on her Instagram account Thursday about the importance of "putting your mental health first" and that the goalie was "showing up for himself and his family."
'It's incredibly important to us to show our kids that asking for help, and letting yourself be supported by others is not just ok, but encouraged -- anytime, and under any circumstance," her post reads.
“I love you and I’m so proud of you for having the courage to seek help,” Price’s sister Kayla Price wrote after sharing Angela Price’s post to her own Instagram stories.
The Habs will officially begin their season on Oct. 13 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
The team, Bergevin insisted, is on good footing despite losing Price temporarily and Weber, who is out for the season due to injuries.
"With [Weber] being here for five years I think he left a legacy among his teammates. How to be a good pro, how to put his team ahead of anything else," Bergevin said.
"Carey will be back, I believe, and we have guys that been through the grind already. So, yeah, we do have leadership in this group and I think they'll rise to the occasion one more time."