Geoff Courtnall - Battling Back
"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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