Oilers' Desharnais admits he "wanted to quit on life" due to a concussion four seasons ago

Sep 9 2023, 7:05 pm

Vincent Desharnais became one of the feel-good stories for the Edmonton Oilers last season, though he recently opened up about his struggles before making it to the NHL.

After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, Desharnais played three more seasons of college hockey for Providence College and an additional three seasons split between the ECHL and AHL before finally making his NHL debut this past season.

On Friday, the Oilers 6-foot-6 defenceman appeared on The Sick Podcast with Tony Marinaro and discussed his journey to becoming an NHLer. While he is thrilled with where his career is today, he opened up about a concussion sustained during the 2019-20 season, which put him in a terrible mental state.

“My first pro season, I got a concussion. It ended up lasting longer, developed anxieties, started having anxiety attacks, started being depressed, which led to depression,” Desharnais explained. “I wanted to quit hockey. Wanted to quit on life, pretty much. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

“At some point, it was either I go in the same direction, and it goes dark, or I get over my ego and the stubborn guy that doesn’t need help, and that’s what I did. I got over my ego and went to get help. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, honestly. I’m so glad it happened, and I’m so glad that I went through that depression and learned to deal with anxiety. I’ve learned to deal with life; life happens every day. You don’t control life.”

It isn’t easy to come out and talk about mental health issues, especially when you have a platform like an athlete like Desharnais. He deserves plenty of credit for coming forward with this, as it helps many others struggling quietly.

As far as hockey is concerned, Desharnais will be one of several blue-liners battling for a spot on the Oilers’ back end during training camp. The 27-year-old suited up for 36 games with the Oilers last season, registering five assists. He also appeared in 12 playoff outings, chipping in with two helpers.

Colton PankiwColton Pankiw

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