Former NHL goalie Malarchuk hopes his experiences will help others

10/28/2016 5:32 AM - Devo

Clint Malarchuk was a goalie in the NHL for over 10 years. At the height of his career he was one of the best. However, behind all the accolades, a man was dealing with a silent struggle that very few knew about.

During his time with the Buffalo Sabres, he experienced one of the most horrific injuries in the game and came back after only 10 days. The injury was one that would've kept almost anyone from playing again, but the NHL's cowboy wouldn't let a physical injury hold him back. Mentally he was battling demons that would nearly take his life.

The GM’s Perspective: You were very open and honest in your book, The Crazy Game. But there are many people that still struggle with this taboo subject of mental illness. What do you want people to take away from your very personal story?

Clint Malarchuk: I think I’ve always tried to play the tough guy card being a cowboy and a hockey player, but I realize now that it doesn’t matter how tough you are physically or mentally. Look at the military and PTSD, for example. They are very tough, very resilient men and women, but as I said it doesn’t matter how tough you are. You can have a mental illness and the toughest men and women are struggling. They aren’t weak people.

GMs: You said that the OCD (something I’ve had my own struggles with) really took over your life after the accident. Can you let the readers know what OCD is for someone who has never experienced it?

CM: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There are so many different variations of it. Some of us don’t really have a serious compulsion, but you just can’t turn off those thoughts. For me, it was constant reassurance. Whatever that thought might be; my parents separating, my mother was going to die… you start to do things to prevent those thoughts from popping in your head like counting to 10 every 10 minutes in a certain fashion. If I do that than she won’t die. And if I don’t do it right, I have to start the process all over again.

Contamination is another one. I’m still kind of a germ freak, but OCD has been good to me in a lot of ways. My work ethic to get to the NHL was incredible. Even when I was 10 or 12 years old I was working out. I was obsessed with being the best that I could be. I wanted to outwork the other person. It became a bit of an obsession about always working my hardest and not taking short cuts. But I was very young doing that. That was just me. Some people hit a bump in the road and have to go back and check that everything is alright. Deep down we know the truth, we just can’t rationalize it or complete that thought.

For a lot of people medication helps and some go through exposure therapy. It depends on how severe. I’ve gone through a lot to get to the NHL. I give my work ethic credit and my OCD credit, but I didn’t know the trauma that I went through in Buffalo could really (lets say you had some disposition to mental illness like OCD) throw you over the top and it takes over your life completely. I didn’t know it at the time. For me I wanted to come back quickly and get back on the horse. Looking back on it now, it probably wasn’t the best thing I could’ve done. I knew I would come back quick, but not like that. I should have looked in to getting counselling, but it was never brought up and I never thought of it either. When you play hockey you’re supposed to be tough and things like that aren’t supposed to affect you. Of course that’s all stigma BS now.

GMs: You talk about being this man’s man; a hockey player, a guy who can get through anything. Do you think the sports industry, in general, has done enough to help those who still might be hesitant to come forward?

CM: Some teams now, I know the Los Angeles Kings have a guy (a former player), whose there for the guys who are dealing with some personal problems. Teams are starting to do that, but most of the time it’s a sports psychologist whose there to help you mentally visualize before a game, not get rattled, and flourish under pressure. To really answer that question I would have to mention one thing that occurred to me after my book came out and what was told to me by others. I had so many current athletes who read the book, email me and say, “thank you, thank you because I thought I was the only one.”

When you are under stress like athletes are, the OCD is way worse. After a game it was like a relief cause I had a reprieve from the OCD. It would build back up to the next game and the pressure would start to mount. I became more obsessive in my thinking. So that tells me that if this many players are calling me to thank me for sharing my inner most thoughts and demons, that there’s still players out their struggling in silence.

GM’s: In hearing you say all this, it really brings a lot of things out in the open for me. As we talked about before the call, I played professional baseball for a little bit. The anxiety ramps up before the game and you start the rituals to calm yourself down. Once the game is done, it sort of eases off for a couple days. But, in the next four days it will ramp up all over and the cycle continues.

Outside of a handful of people, no one really knew about the anxiety/depression/OCD I was dealing with. It becomes normal. You learn how to hide it and deal with it until it finally just blows up in your face and you ask for help.

CM: I say we’re the best actors, bar none. We just had an NHL alumnus event in Toronto and I met up with my former teammate form the Sabres, Rick Vaive. After reading my book, he told me that he never would’ve know that I struggled or was different aside from the fact I spent five or six hours in the weight room after practice. They say athletes are very superstitious, but what really is that? That’s a form of OCD. If they don’t do that ritual, they’re going to have a bad game. It’s the pressure and the stress. And it’s why a lot of athletes are superstitious.

GMs: You are doing a lot of speaking events now telling your story. Has there been anything that’s surprised you during this time?

CM: Nothing surprising except one time before my book even came out. I spoke at a high school and you’ll end up getting 10 or 12 that come up to you after. You can tell that they relate somehow. I’ll never forget one girl who pulled me aside. She rolled up her sleeve and her forearm was covered in cuts. I asked her if she’d ever told anybody or shown anyone before? She said I was the first person she’s shown. I asked if she was willing to show this to a school counsellor? In the end, we were able to get her some help.

GMs: That’s why I love doing these interviews. In my previous conversations with athletes who've been going through battles with addiction, the one underlying comment we always make is that if this interview helps just one person it’s all worth it.

CM: I get emotional when I speak and I never know when the waterworks are going to turn on. I get emotional because I care and I might be talking to somebody that might be on the edge.

Even if it’s only one person, it’s all worth it. Devon, you’d be surprised by how many people you’ve touched, seriously. I knew the book would help people or maybe understand people like me or give people like me a little hope. It really blows me away. I was really talked into writing the book and if I was going to do it, I’d do it all the way. I bared my soul and I’m glad I did.

You keep this in mind when you’re doing what you’re doing. It touches people.

GMs: Watching your CBC interview was very emotional for me. If someone was struggling what do you want them know?

CM: I’ve been to the deepest. I attempted suicide. I was dark and I was desperate. I didn’t want to die and I didn’t want to live the way I was. The pain is so hard to describe. I’ve been to that very painful place. I still have bouts, but not as deep and dark. I want people to know there is help and there’s a good happy productive life that’s not filled with despair and darkness.

And if people did want to reach out, you can visit my website. My email is 

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

The V Foundation's vision and legacy is incredible

10/13/2016 5:12 AM - Devo

At The GM's Perspective, we had the privilege of speaking with Katie Sweet, Communications Manager at the V Foundation For Cancer Research. The V Foundation was formed by ESPN and Jimmy Valvano in 1993, after he was diagnosed with cancer at 46 years old. The all-volunteer committee, made up of some of the most brilliant scientific minds in cancer research today, is dedicated to living out Jim's dream of finding a cure.

Thank you to Katie Sweet and the entire team at the V Foundation for making this interview possible. 

The GM's Perspective: What does The V Foundation mean to the people working in and with the Foundation?

Katie Sweet: Like most people, each of us here has been touched by cancer. Some of us have lost loved ones, some are caregivers and others are cancer survivors. We are committed to making a difference for those living with cancer. We remember Jim’s don’t give up spirit, and we celebrate his legacy on a daily basis. He started something that has grown, and we are so proud to continue his vision.

GMs: There are obviously many organizations that want to partner with you, what’s the deciding factor when making that final decision?

KS: We look at what the partnership could accomplish. Our top priority is an end to cancer through the funding of cancer research. We have great – and a true variety – of partners! Each brings a unique opportunity to the fundraising world.

GMs: The WWE is known for its entertainment value, but they do an enormous amount of work in the community. How did the partnership begin and how does this collaborative arrangement with WWE make your message even stronger?

KS: WWE started Connor’s Cure after one of their young super fans (Connor) passed away from a rare brain cancer. They were moved by his story and determined to stop the disease that took him. They began by fundraising and supporting research in Pittsburgh, but WWE wanted to take their support nationwide. As a result of our partnership, funds raised through the Connor’s Cure initiative are awarded through The V Foundation’s rigorous grant making process, ensuring that the very best of researchers are being funded.

It’s great to have such a motivated partner! WWE has a fantastic following and is a tremendous asset for raising awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer research. The V Foundation has funded more than $20 million in pediatric research and we look forward to growing that amount.

GMs: When you hear "Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!" What's the first thing that comes to mind?

KS: Jim’s famous ESPY speech, no doubt! You don’t have to be a sports fan to love it. It speaks to so many – to cancer patients, their caregivers and other loved ones and researchers. It’s a phrase that transcends the cancer world – we say it in the office quite a bit!

Photo courtesy of Roger Winstead

GMs: If people were looking for more information, want to donate or even partner with you, how could they go about doing this?

KS: Visit We have all kinds of ways for people to get involved – from donations to community events. There is something for everyone. Also, follow us on social media at facebook and on Twitter

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

All photos courtesy of Roger Winstead

Former MLB All-Star Matt Joyce takes ownership role

10/11/2016 6:54 PM - Devo

It's not that often you hear Major Baseball and Independent baseball in the same sentence, but when it happens it's usually very unique. According to a recent league wide press release, Matt Joyce, former MLB All-Star and current Pittsburgh Pirate, is newest owner in the Empire Professional Baseball League.

Formed in 2015, the EPBL just completed its first season. It hasn't drummed up much attention except for the fact the the New York Sullivan Explorers won the first ever league Championship with a losing record. 

Now, with the MLB Playoffs in full swing, and the NFL ramping up its schedule, a small indy league completing its first 60-game is a tough sell. But for those following and interested, this tidbit of information will raise some eyebrows. 

"Investing in the league and helping it become better, grow stronger and be able to provide a dream opportunity to many players its truly what its all about.” said Joyce.

“Just because i'm involved doesn't mean players make more money or the league has high funding. We still rely on sponsors and advertising to fund our operations, but I bring a new level of networks at the Major League level to help bring in better sponsors and advertising partners to help execute a good league. I also bring my direct scouting and MLB recruiting networks to make the Empire league an elite developmental program that will also have players ready to play affiliated ball.” said Matt Joyce.

It's no surprise that indy baseball isn't a way to make a living, but it gives the hopeful, the undrafted, or the released another shot to prove their mettle on the diamond. As Joyce said, his involvement doesn't mean players have hit the jackpot, but his engagement does add legitimacy to the rookie league on the block. Joyce is not only a name, but an unlimited resource that any major league or minor league organization would be glad to have.

For more information on the Empire League, visit their websiteTwitter or facebook page.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Twins sign Frontier League ROY and batting champ

10/01/2016 10:33 PM - Devo

Shane Kennedy couldn't have asked for a better first year of professional baseball.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins signed the undrafted Indy player after he won Rookie of the Year and led the league in hitting with a .363 batting average. He also led the Miners with 24 doubles and 34 stolen bases (second in the league).

Kennedy, who originally signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2015 as a free agent, was released after spring training. In all honesty, that might have been the best thing to happen to him. Coming in undrafted, the odds really are stacked against you. Unless you really light up the stat sheet, priority will be placed with the top picks of the organization. Miners manager Mike Pinto couldn't say enough good things about this ex-Clemson Tiger upon the conclusion of an historic season.

“Shane had an extraordinary season for us,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “The fact that he was not only the Rookie of the Year but the batting champion for the league as well says all that is needed to be said about his abilities. His daily hard work and game effort to go with strong skills could take him a long way in the Twins system. He is still young, and can grow within their organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for him and our entire staff wishes him great success.”

There is nothing but positives from this transition. The Twins get a diamond in the rough and Kennedy gets another opportunity to show that independent players have what it takes to be successful at the next level.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

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