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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Ex-Stanley Cup champion entering treatment for his mental health

Avalanche player Samuel Girard looking on

Jan 15, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (49) against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is entering the NHL and NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

Girard was absent for the Avalanche’s last two contests against the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks due to personal reasons.

The NHL and NHLPA announced Friday night that Girard would be receiving care from the joint assistance program.

Girard, through his representation in CAA Hockey, released a statement Friday on his “proactive decision” to take steps to better his mental health.

“I have made a proactive decision to take care of my mental health, and will be entering treatment for severe anxiety and depression that has gone untreated for too long and led to alcohol abuse … I want to express my gratitude to my wife, family, friends, the club, my teammates and the fans for their patience, understanding, and continued support,” said Girard.

Girard encouraged others to seek help or speak up if they find themselves in a similar situation.

The 25-year-old has struggled on the ice at times throughout the early portion of the 2023-24 season. He was a healthy scratch during the Avalanche’s Nov. 13 game against the Seattle Kraken.

Girard was able to bounce back with his first goal of the season in the following game against the Anaheim Ducks. But he took a personal leave following a Colorado win over the Dallas Stars on Nov. 18.

Giard has 4 total points with a minus-7 rating across 15 games so far this season. He won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in the 2021-2022 season.

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