3 Bruins players admit to bad anxiety and mental health issues

They are helping one another as a team ahead of the 2021-22 season.

HockeyFeed

Jonathan Drouin was very courageous when he revealed that he left the team last April due to insomnia caused by his anxiety. The Montreal Canadiens forward told TSN/RDS in an interview last week that he’s been dealing with the issue for many years, and his breaking point came during a road trip last season.

Ever since Drouin shared his experience, other NHLers have been coming out with testimonies of their own on how their mental health has struggled. 

Bruins insider Fluto Shinzawa has revealed in his latest column for The Athletic that three players in Boston have struggled mentally last season as well. It all started with Chris Wagner, who shared his struggles with teammates Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller. It turned out, they all felt anxiety. 

Wagner, who is usually the first one out in the tunnel to get ready for games, realized he was struggling with anxiety when he noticed no one was in the stands due to COVID protocols. 

“Honestly, I’m freaking out,” Wagner recalled this week. “There’s nobody in the stands. I’m standing there and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’ve got bad anxiety right now.’”

While back then Carlo and Miller did not notice Wagner’s struggles, the veteran forward came clean to his teammates at the chapel group. Without knowing, Wagner encouraged both teammates to discuss their own issues. 

“Then Miller had an admission. He was not feeling good either. Carlo spoke up as well.

“I’m struggling too,” Carlo said.

Wagner was relieved. He was not alone.”

They now go through the anxiety together. Wagner believes he was greatly affected by the COVID protocols, living alone and not seeing his parents. Vacant rinks did not help.

“You just keep thinking more and more. With the quiet,” Wagner said.

After he started suffering from insomnia and lost 5 to 10 pounds over the season, Wagner got the help of the Bruins’ team psychologist. But the support and shared experiences with teammates Carlo and Miller truly helped. 

And got him to overcome the stress of getting married this offseason. 

“Probably the most anxiety I had was standing at the altar,” Wagner joked, “waiting for Kate to come.”

Getting fans back for the postseason helped Wagner and his teammates and now, he is comfortable again. Ready to compete for the upcoming season.