Price’s Impact on Canadiens Still Profound Despite Injury Absence
It’s going to take a medical miracle for Carey Price to suit up for another NHL game with the Montreal Canadiens. Despite the grim outlook with regards to his playing future, the star netminder has no plans to retire and while many on the outside ponder his legacy, his positive impact on the storied franchise he spent his entire career with continues off the ice even though his absence on the ice is being felt in a big way.
Unlike Shea Weber last year, Price and his family have decided to spend the entire 2022-23 season in Montreal while he continues his rehab. His free time has given him a new appreciation for the city he has called home for the past 16 years.
Not only have his health struggles afforded him more quality time with his young family, but also the opportunity to discover everything Montreal and the surrounding areas have to offer outside of the rink. He recently attended a Toronto Raptors preseason contest at the Bell Centre, a Montreal Alouettes football game, and spent time hunting in Granby. Along the way, the 35-year-old has been more than generous with fans while happily soaking in all the love and support he has received.
“An overwhelming sense of gratitude is the best way to describe that. Just heartwarming,” Price said about the memorable reception he received during Montreal’s home opener.
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In September, he attended the Canadiens’ annual golf tournament and was one of the first players to make an appearance at the team’s all-important blood drive last week. Plus, he plans on getting involved in more of the Habs’ community initiatives throughout the season.
While the fans have become used to showering Price with thunderous ovations inside the Bell Centre, they have rarely had the chance to interact with the face of their beloved Habs within familiar settings outside the arena. This new proximity has only strengthened their bond with an athlete who has always preferred to steer clear of the spotlight.
Speaking Up to Help Others
Price is also a man of few words, so to hear him be an open book and see how relaxed he was during his press conference on Monday was such a refreshing change. His smile and well-timed jokes spoke volumes about his state of mind although he’s not at peace with the many unanswered questions that remain about his knee. Right now, he is unable to train at a professional level and his goal is just to be pain-free in his day-to-day life after putting so much wear and tear on his body to reach the pinnacle of his sport as one of the greatest players in Canadiens’ history.
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“It’s part of the cost that you pay. You know, I’ve paid it, if I were to do it all over again, would I do it? You know I would,” Price explained about his injuries.
While his perseverance and strength in the face of adversity are certainly to be admired, his decision to open up about his battle with alcoholism in a telling, but also heartbreaking interview with Arpon Basu of The Athletic, is truly inspiring.
A quiet, humble and soft-spoken Price chose to speak up knowing that he could use his platform to help others who find themselves in the same situation, especially members of the indigenous community of which he and his family are part of. He’s always been a role model to them, and he wanted to show that it’s ok to ask for help which he did when he voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last October.
While he continues to come to terms with the likelihood that he’ll never play hockey again, Price opened the door to possibly chasing a Stanley Cup, the only trophy missing from his stellar resume and the elusive ultimate prize that he so badly wants to win, in another capacity.
“It’s something that you digest. I don’t think fully I have done that yet, to be honest. I have always been a bit of an optimist so I’m not giving up, definitely not giving up on winning a Stanley Cup in some aspect, whatever position that would be in. I’m just trying to focus on all the positives in life,” Price added.
Could this mean a future coaching or executive role with the Canadiens? It would be a fitting next step for both parties to ensure that Price’s positive influence remains within the organization and his special connection to Montreal is further amplified. It’s no secret that Price was a generational player for the Habs, but now everyone is finding out just how special the man behind the mask truly is and realizing that he’s still writing the final chapter of his legendary career with the team that has become a part of his identity.
Melissa has been covering the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She is also THW’s Social Media & Marketing Manager as well as co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly show produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the primary person responsible for their upkeep for over 10 years. She has written articles for multiple tennis websites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her career in sports started in tennis, her first love has always been hockey. She has a journalism degree from Concordia University.