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Corey Crawford hoisting Stanley Cup
Photo credit: CBS Sports

Corey Crawford reveals ugly details behind retirement in 2021

Published April 24, 2024 at 9:31
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Former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has recently opened up about his struggles with drug abuse, shedding light on the reasons behind his sudden retirement from hockey in January 2021.

Crawford's disappearance from the hockey scene following his retirement left many fans wondering about the reasons behind his decision. Despite remaining mostly out of the public eye, Crawford and his family continued to reside in the Chicago area.

However, Crawford recently broke his silence in an interview with The Athletic's Scott Powers, revealing that his retirement was prompted by his battle with drug addiction.

He confessed to being prescribed benzodiazepines, a type of medication, which he took throughout the day. Eventually, the toll on his mental health became too much to bear, leading him to retire from hockey to focus on his well-being and family.


''I was on a bunch of medications, benzos that I took, that they prescribed me. I was taking that all day for a while. It got to the point for my mental health I needed to stop playing and get back to being myself. For me, it was a little bit of a break to settle in and think about my family and setting them up. My kids and stuff, setting up school for them and all that. Now that we've had a little bit more time, it seems like we get busier and busier, especially with two of them playing hockey. It's a little more time, a little more open to do this stuff.''

The former goaltender expressed the challenges he faced both during his time on medication and while attempting to withdraw from it. He described feeling as though he had lost his mind and emphasized the difficulty of coming off the medication.

''NHL doctors originally put me on stuff. I was having a lot of bad symptoms and anxiety and all that stuff from that one (concussion) I missed a lot of the year. I was off and on that medication. But when I came off of that stuff, symptoms would pop up way more. Oh, man, it's horrible, horrible, hard to do that stuff. If you can, I would stay off, for anyone else. It's a tough situation. But on the other end, I was so happy and thankful to play in Chicago and do what we did. That's like a kid's dream. That was my dream growing up — play in the NHL and win a Stanley Cup. That's everything I worked hard for growing up as a kid and also going into pro hockey. Your whole life is to get to that point. It's surreal, at the same time so rewarding to live out your dream.''

Despite the hardships, Crawford expressed gratitude for his time in Chicago, fulfilling his childhood dream of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup.

''Honestly, it was a little embarrassing because no one really understands that part, right? It's easy to say, «Oh, my leg is broken or this and that.» When you're explaining that stuff, no one understands or only a certain amount of people understand. I just mentally was done. I almost lost my mind. That's hard, I didn't exactly know what was going on. I lost my mind, to be honest, being on those medications. Even coming off them was worse, off the benzos. It was tough. I felt horrible for Jersey too to put them in a bad spot. I wanted to be there and go and win a Stanley Cup. But the position I was in, I wouldn't have been much help.''

Crawford's candid revelation sheds light on the often unseen struggles that athletes face behind the scenes and serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and support within the sports community.

Full story/source: The Athletic NHL, Scott Powers
Corey Crawford on why he retired, Blackhawks career, IceHogs ceremony, life after hockey: Q&A
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Corey Crawford reveals ugly details behind retirement in 2021

Do you believe NHL doctors need to be more educated when prescribing these kinds of drugs?

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