Canadiens' Carey Price cites 'substance use' as reason he entered NHL/NHLPA player assistance program

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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, back with the team this week, said he had entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last month for "substance use."

Price had led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final last season but announced in October that he was voluntarily entering the program.

"Over the last few years, I have let myself get to a very dark place and I didn’t have the tools to cope with that struggle," he said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. "Last month, I made the decision to enter a residential treatment facility for substance use. Things had reached a point that I realized I needed to prioritize my health for both myself and my family. Asking for help when you need it is what we encourage our kids to do, and it was what I needed to do."

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Price also had offseason knee surgery and is working his way back from that. He was exposed in the expansion draft, but the Seattle Kraken did not take him.

The goalie has been the face of the Canadiens franchise since 2007 and won the Hart Trophy (league MVP) and Vezina Trophy (outstanding goalie) in 2014-15. He also drew national attention when he comforted grief-stricken 11-year-old Anderson Whitehead, who had lost his mother, after a practice in 2019.

Without Price – and injured captain Shea Weber – the Canadiens have struggled this season. But coach Dominique Ducharme isn't rushing the goalie back, setting steps that Price needs to take before he can play.

Price, too, isn't sure when he'll back in net.

"I am working through years of neglecting my own mental health, which will take some time to repair," he said. "All I can do is take it day by day. With that comes some uncertainty with when I will return to play."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carey Price, Canadiens goalie, entered NHL program for 'substance use'