Daniel Carcillo announces NHL retirement, wants to help other players

Former Chicago Blackhawks left winger Daniel Carcillo hoists the Stanley Cup after the Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Daniel Carcillo didn’t always know what he’d do when he was done with hockey.

He does now.

Carcillo officially announced his retirement after nine seasons in the NHL via The Players’ Tribune on Thursday. He also laid out his plans for his new non-profit organization, Chapter 5.

Inspired by his late friend and former NHLer Steve Montador, who died in February 2015, Carcillo is dedicating his post-hockey life to helping athletes make the leap from the rink to the real world.

Montador was found dead in his home at age 35, and Carcillo has been vocal about how his friend’s death has affected him and other players, both active and retired.

“Everybody misses Monty. Everybody wishes he was still with us. So how do we make it better?” Carcillo wrote in the article titled A Bittersweet Day. “How do we help guys with the stress and anxiety that comes with losing the only identity they’ve had since they were 16 years old? How can we help them find a new purpose in life?”

These are the questions that led Carcillo to form Chapter 5 — and they’re also the questions that prompted him to take on the next chapter in his own life.

“I’m a big believer in signs. When we won the Stanley Cup and I was still lying awake at night thinking about how to carry on Monty’s legacy, it felt like it was a sign that it’s time to close one chapter and open another one,” he continued. “Today, I’m retiring from the National Hockey League.”

Carcillo, 30, closes his NHL career having registered 48 goals and 100 points in 429 regular season games split between the Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and two stints with the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he won two Stanley Cups.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

On his favourite memories with Montador, out on the golf course:
We used to laugh our asses off out there. We didn’t talk about hockey. We talked about all the things we wanted to do when we were done with the game, or when the game was done with us. When Monty passed away in February, one of the memories I kept coming back to was how much fun we had out there on the golf course. The future seemed to be right in front of us. We just weren’t quite sure what to do with it.

On his new mission:
My immediate goal is to help athletes transition to the next phase of their life — whether it’s continuing education, finding internships with companies, or networking with other athletes who are dealing with the same issues. My mission is to help guys who are dealing with anxiety, depression, and uncertainty about their future. Not down the line, not next week, but right now.

On his bittersweet day with the Stanley Cup, and moving forward:
It was bittersweet being at the golf course with the Stanley Cup and not having Monty there. I kept expecting to hear his big, goofy laugh break the silence. But watching my son climb on the Cup and pretending to drive the golf cart was really special. He’s carrying on the tradition of breaking all the rules at the country club for us.

Monty, you would have loved it, buddy. Thanks for being a a great friend. I’ll pass it on.

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