photo © David Kindler
It’s playoff season. Hockey emotions are running high. But if you’d asked me yesterday which NHL player would make me cry today, I wouldn’t have guessed Daniel Carcillo in a million years.
Who is Dan Carcillo? His Twitter handle, @carbombboom13, says it all. He’s among the scrappy last of a dying breed: the hockey enforcer. Lacking the chiseled jawline of Disney prince Tom Wilson or Tanner Glass’s Ivy League diploma, Carcillo looks and acts like pure spite on ice. Often his own team’s fans can’t stand him. His short stint with the Rangers was memorable primarily for an elbow to an official, which landed him a ten game suspension. Oh, and for this:
All that changed on Wednesday, when Car Bomb detonated something completely different: a tearful plea to the NHL to take better care of its own. Deeply pained by the death of his close friend and former teammate Steve Montador, 35, who died in February, Carcillo stared down the camera and asked the league to provide better services for players making the transition – often involuntarily – to civilian life. He makes very clear that, but for a few rolls of the dice, he might be in Montador’s place.
Carcillo never mentions money. He never says the l-word (“lawsuit”). He requests counseling and career advice, and reminds the NHL of the sacrifices players make in terms of their physical and mental health.
Let’s hope that league higher-ups see and hear him. For Montador, it is already too late; for forgotten others like him, it might be.
Another perspective on the post-NHL enforcer by Olympian and close friend of Montador’s, Hayley Wickenheiser: