"We all have something in our lives. Life is not easy. If you get into the black tunnel, it’s pretty tough to come out. It can take you down. A lot of people feel hopeless.”
"Geoff Courtnall looks lean.
His calm and measured tone reflects renewed everyday optimism and a sense of peace. It comes with being in a better physical and mental place while still pushing the pace in mining and real-estate ventures and arduous fitness pursuits.
The former Vancouver Canucks winger doesn’t look, feel or act 55. And the glances he’s afforded in a downtown coffee shop — those quizzical “I-should-know-that-guy” looks — are endearing. But those patrons don’t really know Courtnall. Neither do we.
The undrafted free agent compiled 799 points in 1,049 National Hockey League games during a 17-year run with five teams — including 246 points in 292 games with the Canucks from 1991-95 — and was also dragged down by enough, at and away from the rink, to crush most men.
Courtnall endured more than a dozen concussions and was forced to retire at age 37. He suffered severe post-concussion symptoms for more than a decade and still has equilibrium episodes after extreme hockey-related exercise. He lost his father to depression-driven suicide when he was just 15. And the demands and distractions of being a pro athlete brought demons and drove him to drink. His 25-year marriage ended in 2007."
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