In case you missed it last week, one of the most important articles ever written about the National Hockey League was penned by a former player who finished his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, Nick Boynton.
The article, titled, “Everything’s Not OK,” detailed Boynton’s struggles with concussions during and after his playing career, and can be read in it’s entirety here at The Players’ Tribune.
Even though he only spent 10 games at the end of his career with the Flyers, it might have been the most important period of his life, according to the following quotes form the article:
“The Flyers and Paul Holmgren, who was the GM in Philly at the time, didn’t judge me or make me feel like an outcast when they found out. They sent me to rehab and pledged their support. They looked out for me. Even though I hadn’t been looking out for myself.
And to this day, I honestly believe Paul saved my life back then.
If I had been somewhere else, and they had just traded me away … I’d probably be dead.”
-Nick Boynton, article for The Players’ Tribune
Absolutely heartrending stuff.
Here are a few excerpts from this gripping, honest interview:
“I was with the Flyers, I screwed up. Doing a lot of drugs, and I called the trainer and Homer (Paul Holmgren) sent me home and I met with him the next day and he gave me a choice, he said I could tell him this was a one-time thing and it would never happen again or I could tell him I had a problem and he’d get me help. I told him I had a problem. He was an honest guy, he’d been honest with me to that point, you know, around NHL circles Philly (Philadelphia) is known as a team that takes care of their people. That’s not a lie so I felt like I could be honest with him and I feel bad because I let this story out and I didn’t really want to put any undue pressure on him or put his name in is but there’s a lot of bad people in the NHL, but there are a lot of good people too so I want to give credit where credit is due. He helped me a lot.”
-Nick Boynton, interview with Gettin’ Bullied and Mark Giannone
Mark Giannone, host of Gettin’ Bullied: “The problem with concussions is huge but especially in contact sports like the NHL. In an interview with WFAN in New York, commissioner Gary Bettman was asked by host Chris Carlin if the league was doing all they could about concussions in the NHL. Bettman’s response was ‘we are doing all we think is appropriate.’ What are your thoughts on that statement and do you agree with it?”
Nick Boynton: (laughing repeatedly) “Yes I have an opinion on that statement. Well for me, it’s infuriating because he’s talking about my life and about guys who have passed away and he’s talking about – you know, we are just a commodity to him (Gary Bettman) and to Jeremy Jacobs (owner of Bruins and chairman of NHL Board of Governors) and to the owners, certain owners, I won’t say everybody. It’s embarrassing that a man, the commissioner of a billion dollar organization, that’s how he answers that question? That’s pretty – pretty rich, but pretty sad as well.”
Listen to the entire Gettin’ Bullied interview for much more, including Nick discussing what he’d like to see come out of the current lawsuit where former NHL players are suing the league for its handling of concussions, his relationship with Dan Carcillo, and how cutting-edge treatments that the league won’t pay for are helping improve his quality of life immensely.