The Buffalo Sabres talk mental health

The Buffalo Sabres past and present have been strong advocates of Mental Health Awareness
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

It’s no secret that a stigma is still attached to mental health around the country.  Many former and current players of the Sabres though have taken great strides to address that stigma by speaking of their journeys. 

Both former Sabres goalies Robin Lehner and Clint Malarchuk have been open and honest about their mental health struggles. Lehner has been sober since 2018, after a battle with drug and alcohol addiction.  Since opening up he has been a strong advocate for mental health and has spoken at many forums in Western New York.  Malarchuk who suffered a near fatal injury while as a goalie for the Sabres in 1989 has talked about the trauma during and after the incident. 

Malarchuk did attempt suicide in 2008.  Since his recovery, he has spoken out on suicide awareness and trauma.   He wrote a book entitled, “A Matter of Inches—How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond” about his injury and subsequent trauma.

Kyle Okposo who was recently traded during this season, spoken often about his mental health struggles and his own experiences after suffering post-concussion syndrome due to many years in hockey.  He became a spokesman for Just Tell One, which assisted youth and mental health in Western New York.

Now current Sabres on the roster, Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch are leading the way.  Both participated in a joint video with the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Bandits last season speaking on their struggles and letting any Sabres fan know they are not alone. 

This past March, the Sabres hosted an event at Keybank Arena which highlighted the issue.  They invited more than 200 students and the group “Same Here Global”.  The organization’s goal is to normalize society’s stance on mental health.

As players like Thompson and Tuch wrap their season, it’s important for anyone struggling to look at them as role models.  With mental health awareness set to kick off in May it is also important to pay attention what events the Sabres may be holding for the month.