Former Hab Richer discusses his battle with depression

Stéphane Richer won two Stanley Cups — one in Montreal and another in New Jersey — and remains the last Canadien to score 50 goals in a season, reaching that plateau during the 1987-88 season and again in 1989-90.

He played in 1,054 National Hockey League games, scored 421 goals and accumulated 819 points, and he did it all while battling depression.

Richer and Michael Landsberg, the host of TSN’s Off the Record who has also battled depression, will be in Montreal Sunday night as speakers at an AMI-Québec (Action on Mental Illness) anti-stigma and fundraising event.

“I think it’s really important for me to be there,” Richer said. “It’s a great honour for me to be there … this doesn’t have anything to do with my name and being a hockey player in the past … we’re talking about serious stuff. I’m just hoping I might be able to help someone by being there.”

Richer added: “I wish when I was 20 or 21 I could have had someone from hockey or baseball or football talking about this … maybe it could have helped. But at the time that wasn’t big, right? … talking about depression. But like I said, if I can help someone … maybe save somebody’s life … I’m doing my job.”

Richer said he realized how serious his situation was in 1995, after winning the Stanley Cup with the Devils.

“I was old enough to realize that I had not problems at the time … but some issues,” he recalled. “Problems is a big word. But when I won a Cup in New Jersey in ’95, I had a great playoff, finished second overall in the stats, and I wasn’t happy. I’m driving back home and everybody is waiting for me … my family … and I know something is wrong with me. It was pretty scary …”

Richer, who now keeps busy as owner of the Montpellier Golf Club, has one regret about his NHL career.

“Like I said last time I spoke with Michael, I would have loved to have been able to play just a few games with no doubt in my mind I could be a good hockey player,” he said. “I always had that doubt … that thing about every game, telling yourself today I’m still good. I would have loved to see just one year, or six months … whatever it is … no problems, don’t think about anything, just play the game. How good could I have been?

“But I can’t do anything about it now. I have to move forward.”

(Gazette file photo)

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  1. Adam McQuaid seen Matt Cooke coming and shoulda, coulda turned his body to take the check instead he choose to face the boards back on. Was it worth a 5 minute major and a game misconduct? Hmmm. There have been hits like this throughout these playoffs by Chara and Lucic while its okay to run them all night long and everytime a Bruin is touched a call is being made to change the outcome of a game. The player that got called has a reputation by league not to hit from behind. Same as Raffi Torres.

    Did Brad Marchand deserve more than a two minute penalty? These officals are just brutal when calls should be same as Matt Cooke’s hit. To shove a person so close to boards is just as dangerous as hitting from behind. Then the two man breakaway and Marchand points to Bergeron that I got Letang by getting in his skating lane to slow him down. Is that itereference? Na its just a hockey play. Letang should have got two for diving.

    This is what the cronies are going to do to Pitts. Bruins will be getting away with murder and Pitts has to find away to avoid this BS. See Daddy Boy Campbell in the stands last night? Someone should have given him an earfull for allowing this game to be run the way they see fit. Man I hate these Bruins. On me nerves!!!

    This should be the last season this Bruins team will compete for the cup

  2. The Jackal says:

    Thought I would make this post after game 1 of Pens and Bruins.

    Now, I really don’t like the Bruins, they are our rivals, but you gotta give it to them – they know how to win in the post-season. They certainly take their liberties, but is that really their shtick? I think people like to focus on that and gloss over their real strengths – they are a deep team, while their D kind of levels off after Chara, they have Hamilton and couple of other reliable guys that can play. Not to mention Rask and Khudobin are very good tenders. And their forwards? Bergeron and Krejci is a great 1-2. I think we will soon have that: Chucky-Eller-Plekanec will be the envy of the league. But for now, the B’s have a very strong lineup.

    Of course it bothers me that they play dirty, but it’s the refs job to prevent that sort of crap. The Bruins are not the only team that avails itself of the way the officials call the game. Everyone knows the playoffs have become a “let em play” affair, and teams like LA and the Bruins can play their physical game and be more effective at affecting the game of their opponents.

    That is what happened to the Pens. They let the B’s get under their skin and tried to play tough, which is not their game. They also tried to be too fancy but when they realized that Rask is not Anderson and Chara is not Methot, they ran into trouble. One thing I can say about the B’s is that as much as they make my blood boil when they play us, I respect them for being a strong team. They’ve battled adversity and have come out stronger because of it. Pittsburgh? They’ve had a fantasy season and are not used to losing or getting frustrated. That’s why, IMO, I don’t think teams that have won easily throughout the regular season make much of an impact, they just get stunned when the going gets rough and have a hard time adjusting. I bet the Pens do adjust and bring it to the B’s, I hope they do because it will make a better series and 2 cups in 3 years? Uh oh.

    But all that being said, the B’s are built for the playoffs, and so is LA. Those teams are the reason why there is such a premium on Lucic-type players – fights, scores, hits, skates. Every team wants to emulate them in a way, and those players are not everywhere. Guys like Bickell and Clarkson will be on the hotlist and it is up to the Habs’ management team to find a way to balance out the team.

    In short, as much as it pains me to say it, the Habs need to get as tough as the Bruins (or LA) by adding size and grit (and more scoring depth). I don’t think we are far from that, I say in 2 years we are ready to move up a weight class.

    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • SlovakHab says:

      Well clearly you don’t spend enough time on HEOTP and instead watch hockey too much.

      Otherwise you would know that all matters is possession (Corsi, Fenwick) and that size and grit are just narratives of people that don’t understand hockey. That we don’t need to get MOAR BIGGER, but instead improve our possession and other fancy stats, wait for other teams that have too much shooting luck to regress to the mean and then BANG! Price will win Vezina and Habs win the Cup.

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