KAMLOOPS — Corey Hirsch held up a picture of his daughter during her graduation in front of a group of TRU Wolfpack athletes.
He shared what he would've missed out on had he taken his own life, and there have been many thoughts of doing so. It happened here in Kamloops with the Blazers and also when he played in the National Hockey League.
In 1994, Hirsch should have been atop the world, winning the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers. Instead, he told his mom he wanted to end his life atop the Empire State building.
"I just told her that I wanted to jump off it basically," he said. "She didn't know what to do and I didn't know what to do. It was because there was no hope."
There is now hope for Hirsch, who's come out and shared his story of struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in February in The Players' Tribute.
During his career, he didn't know how to get help, embarrassed to share his struggles and reveal his true colours.
"When I played, you just didn't bring it up," he said. "You didn't want to tell anybody, you didn't want to show anybody you were weak. You had three guys trying to take your job as a goalie."
But his illness caught up with him, and his performance in the crease suffered as well.
It's one sign that an athlete is struggling through some kind of mental health battle, Hirsch noted. Some of the other signs, he told a group of Wolfpack athletes and coaches, is weight gain or weight loss, the latter with which he suffered as a player in the NHL.
"My first year in the National Hockey League, I went out, I did all the things that were fun," remembered Hirsch. "All of a sudden, I started to withdraw, I started to retreat. I made excuses. I was late for practices. I was late for meetings. Wasn't normal. But nobody really knew what to do. They all just hid it."
Hirsch said people between the age of 15 and 24 --- the age of the Wolfpack athletes --- is the most vulnerable population to mental illness.
He encouraged each and every person to reach out, and support teammates who may be suffering.
"My generation is the one that's been able to start the talk. It's their generation that's going to be able to finish it."
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