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Avs' Girard to enter program, cites 'alcohol abuse'

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Published in Hockey
Friday, 24 November 2023 17:04

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard will be away from the team indefinitely while he receives care from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

The league and union announced Girard's status in a joint statement Friday before the Avalanche visited the Minnesota Wild.

Girard, 25, had been away from the Avalanche for personal reasons and did not play in either of their past two games. He will continue to be paid while getting treatment and can return to the team when cleared for on-ice competition by program administrators.

In a post published on X, formerly Twitter, Girard made a statement through his agency, CAA, saying that the decision was "proactive," and that he was "entering treatment for severe anxiety and depression that has gone untreated for too long and led to alcohol abuse."

His father, Tony, said in a social media post earlier in the day that Girard was in good hands and asked others to respect his son's privacy.

"Just to reassure everyone, we can however tell you that we are staying in touch with him and your get well soon messages are touching him immensely," Tony Girard posted. "Our man is a fighter, a great fighter and will always honor our region and all of Quebec. Hockey is still his big passion!"

Girard, a native of Roberval, Quebec, is in his seventh full NHL season. He broke his sternum midway through Colorado's Stanley Cup run in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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