Addiction is one of the hardest things to experience in life. Opening up about it, may be even harder.

A son of former New York Rangers' standout, Carey Wilson, 32-year old Colin established quite the hockey career of his own. A native of Greenwich, CT, Wilson spent two incredible seasons with the Boston University Terriers playing college hockey, before being drafted 7th overall by the Nashville Predators.

2008 NHL Entry Draft, Round One
Wilson was a standout in college, earning a first-round draft selection in 2008. Courtesy Getty Images.

Wilson spent eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, before joining the Colorado Avalanche organization. He last played with the Av's in 2019-20.

Suddenly, however, Wilson vanished. You didn't hear his name on the broadcast. You didn't see his name on the box score the next morning. You didn't see him...anywhere.

That's because Colin Wilson was dealing with an addiction to Ambien. One that derailed his hockey career, and altered his life forever.

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Wilson took to The Player's Tribune to detail his extensive issues with substance abuse. He reiterates a story that he had opened up about previously, one in which he details his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. What he hadn't told previously, though, was what the OCD let him to do, and how bad it was at certain points in his career.

San Jose Sharks v Nashville Predators - Game Three
Wilson was a fan favorite for nearly a decade for the Nashville Predators. Courtesy Getty Images.

It's a harrowing tale, and one I encourage everyone to read, for a number of reasons. First, Wilson is extraordinarily brave for opening up in the manner that he did. Second, he tells a story that a number of people, both athletes and us normal folks, are probably living in secrecy, and his story outlines a path to recovery that may save someone down the road.

To make a long story short, Wilson describes the lowest of the lows. He described his use of cocaine, and his attempts to balance the high of cocaine with the "low" of sleeping pills, and the feeling of not being sure what the next day would bring. That's a truly scary place to be, and he tells every single detail.

Colorado Avalanche v Tampa Bay Lightning
Wilson played what would be the final three seasons of his NHL career for the Colorado Avalanche. Courtesy Getty Images.

He ends his piece, however, with a plea. One that everyone should hear, and should be encouraged to act upon. He pleads with the National Hockey League, and society as a whole, to normalize addiction, and to normalize seeking help.

There is definitely a stigma around asking for help with issues like addiction and mental illness. Even in 2021, it's still a bit "taboo" to do that. Wilson thanks the NHL for what they were able to do for him, but asks for them to do more. He asks for us all to do more; to create an environment in which seeking help is welcomed, and recovery is a more regular thing.

The outpouring of support has been loud and proud so far:


Colin Wilson played 632 career NHL games. He played those 632 games dealing with issues we had no idea about, and was forced to retire far before he should've. If his story is read, and re-read, and taken as seriously as he's asked us to, we might be able to help younger players avoid this same fate.

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