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Carcillo talks Montador’s ‘trying times,’ questions NHLPA’s exit program

Phoenix Coyotes v Chicago Blackhawks

Phoenix Coyotes v Chicago Blackhawks

NHLI via Getty Images

In a new Players’ Tribune piece, Chicago forward Daniel Carcillo touches on the passing of friend and ex-teammate Steve Montador, questioning how the NHLPA deals with players once their careers are finished.

“Over the years, I saw that deterioration of [Montador’s] mind, and he must have felt that as well,” Carcillo explained. “Just recently going home to Mississauga and to his home and seeing the number of sets of keys he had for the same lock kind of tells you the story of what was going on in his head and his memory loss and his mental state.”

Montador passed away in mid-February at the age of 35, following a series of concussions during his playing days. Police suspected no foul play and believed he passed due to “natural causes.” Autopsy results have yet to be released publicly.

The former Flame, Panther, Sabre, Duck, Bruin and Blackhawk appeared 571 career NHL games, the last of which came in Chicago during the 2011-12 campaign. Montador spent the 2013-14 season playing in Russia and, that March, spoke with about struggling with the end of his playing days.

“I can see why people have a hard time with a number of different things and being taken away from something they love to do and not sure if you’d ever get back the chance.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety and depression that comes with that.”

In that light, here’s what Carcillo had to say about now the NHLPA deals with players after their careers are over.

“So after Monty died, I really did some research, kind of asking guys that had already moved on and that I had played with if they knew what our exit program was for the NHLPA and I was kind of astonished to find out that not one guy can tell me what it was.

“Right now, as far as the PA goes, we would receive a phone call to see how we’re doing and that’s pretty much our exit program.

“From the guys that I’ve talked to who have moved on, they’ve all said the same thing -- all fell into a deep depression and went away quietly. It was almost as if the less noise you make when you go away, the better.

“I don’t think it’s right. It doesn’t feel right for how much we give to this league and this sport. Sacrificing our bodies, sacrificing our minds with the concussions and the hits that we take.”

Here’s full video, courtesy the Players’ Tribune.