Former NHL player Brantt Myhres pens memoir about path to sobriety: ‘I spilled my guts out’

The last time retired NHL hockey player Brantt Myhres touched drugs or alcohol was Feb. 17, 2008.

“I got arrested. I woke up the next morning and the NHL called me and asked if I was willing to go to long-term treatment,” The Edmonton-born former right winger said.

“I said, ‘Yeah, but I have a daughter being born in five days.’

“A line I’ll never forget: they said, ‘If you don’t get on that plane, she won’t have a daddy,’ and they were right.”

He went to rehab — for the fifth time — and missed the birth of his daughter Chloe.

Myhres, 47, will celebrate 13 years of sobriety this week, thanks in part to his daughter: “She keeps me going.”

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Brantt Myhres does up his 12-year-old daughter Chloe’s skates in Edmonton, Alta. on Feb 10, 2021. Global News

Myhres played 154 games in the NHL between 1994 and the early 2000s, for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins.

He recorded 687 penalty minutes. He played hard — off the ice, he lived even harder. The book tells Myhres story of discovering alcohol as a way of handling the anxiety of fighting, and of the thrill of cocaine.

Rightwinger Brantt Myhres of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action against defenseman Sean O”Donnell of the Los Angeles Kings on December 5,1996. Getty Images

He was suspended by the NHL four times for failing drug tests and was eventually banned from the league for life in 2006. Myhres’ has written a book about his troubled past and road to recovery, titled Pain Killer.

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“I’m very proud of my dad,” Chloe said. “It took a lot to become sober, and make a book and everything, and I’m very proud of him.”

“I spilled my guts out in it,” Myhres said. “I didn’t leave anything on the table.”

Read more: New Alberta study suggests athletes are more prone to alcohol, drug addiction

Myhres details how substance abuse sabotaged his career and personal life — sharing stories of week-long benders, stripper-filled hot tubs, motorcycle crashes, bar brawls and family problems.

“There’s things in there that even my best friends don’t know about, so I had to get over the embarrassment of saying that.”

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Eventually, he was even hired by the Los Angeles Kings in 2015 as a “sober coach,” who could recognize and help solve problems before they ruined other players’ lives.

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It took Myhres many years to save himself. Now he’s hoping the book can help others.

Pain Killer will be released on Feb. 16.

The cover of Pain Killer by Brantt Myhres.
The cover of Pain Killer by Brantt Myhres. Credit: Penguin Random House

— With files from Su-Ling Goh and Karen Bartko, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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