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Clint Malarchuk, The Survivor (W/ Rypien Tie In At End)


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Many of us know people dealing with depression, or perhaps are directly affected by it. This is an emotional read on Clint Malarchuk and his struggles over the years.

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Hockey loved Clint Malarchuk. He was the game's Cowboy Goalie, its stone-cold keeper. If any player was resilient to pain, unmoved by fear, it was him. Through the 1980s, he was known as much for his fists as he was for his saves. He seemed unbreakable, immune to the pressure of the most stressful position in sport. But behind those grey-green eyes, an endless war waged. Plagued by the debilitating effects of mental illness, Malarchuk did everything he could to survive in a sport notoriously impervious to his struggle. Hockey loved Clint Malarchuk, but the game couldn't save him. In fact, it nearly killed him. Twice death gripped him, and twice -- by fate, or God, or just damn luck -- Malarchuk survived. Today, with a scar across his neck and a bullet in his head, his story is far from over.

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I remember travelling to Vancouver from the Okanagan on the day his throat got cut. I hadn't had a chance to see the game, but my uncle mentioned it when we got in and he was pretty amazed Malarchuk was able to get off the ice. The rest of it - his relationship with Dudley, his family life growing up, his depression/OCD, etc - I had no clue.

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I heard about the neck cut in a top 10 list of worst injuries ever. Needless to say, it was #1. So I watched it on YouTube. So gruesome, it must've been horrifying.

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Very scary at the time, not knowing what was going on or how he was doing. There have been some bad ones over the years but the only thing close was when Jiri Fischer's heart stopped on the bench during a Det-Nash game in 2005, and that didn't have any of the gruesome visual of the big pool of blood on the ice. There are plenty of bad injuries out there, but not many have the life or death feel like Malarchuk's did.

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