On Thursday, October 26th, The Mental Health Association of Westchester welcomed former NHL all-star goalie Clint Malarchuk and his wife Joanie for a riveting and unforgettable evening of conversation.
An intimate event at LIFE The Place to Be, the evening shone a spotlight on the importance of taking care of your mental health, just as you would your physical health. A suicide survivor and mental health advocate, Clint opened up about his deeply personal story of lifelong mental health issues and the pressures of a professional athlete, while Joanie shared her unique perspective as a family member supporting a loved one with mental health concerns.
The evening also featured a VIP reception and book signing with Clint and Joanie. Proceeds from the event benefit MHA's vital mental health services in the community.
Special thanks to our sponsors and media partners, as well as the following businesses and individuals who generously supported our silent auction and raffle:
|Addison Street Spa||Alamo Drafthouse Cinema|
|Boscobel House and Gardens||Blue Man Group|
|Brewster Ice Arena||Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts|
|Steven J. Caspi||City Limits Diner|
|Dia Art Foundation||Doral Arrowwood|
|Emelin Theatre||Everything's Hair|
|Fun Fuzion at New Roc City||Grand Prix New York|
|House of Sports||Jacob Burns Film Center|
|Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival||Katonah Musuem of Art|
|Ann Mandel Laitman||Larchmont Music Academy|
|Locanda Verde||DeLaune Michel|
|Mirorr Lake Inn||Mohegan Sun|
|Mohonk Preserve||Red Flower|
|Rotuba Extruders||SDI Technologies Inc.|
|Stardust Limousine||Susan Daniels Photography|
|Susan Woog Wagner Photography||UFC Gym Mamaroneck|
|USA Hockey Foundation||Walt Disney World Co.|
|Westchester Philharmonic||Westchester Skating Academy|
|Yonkers Tennis Center||Zaltas Gallery of Fine Jewelry|
For years, Clint seemed to be living the dream as one of the National Hockey League’s masked marvels. The former goalie played parts of 10 seasons in the NHL, at times ranking among the game’s elite players. But behind the masks he wore across 338 NHL games was a man who kept decades of anxiety, obsessive behavior, depression and alcohol use under wraps, a man struggling mightily to stop pucks on the ice and his every wall from crumbling off it. And that was before a harrowing in-game accident, on a late-March night in 1989, that came within inches and minutes of ending his life. Clint's carotid artery was severed by an errant skate blade, an injury requiring 300 stitches. It continues to be regarded as the most gruesome injury in professional sports history.
Spurred by the macho culture predominant in professional sports, Clint returned to play just 10 days later, and once his playing career ended he went on to hold several coaching positions. But the wayward skate blade’s damage wasn’t limited to his neck. Post-traumatic stress disorder that wouldn’t be diagnosed for nearly 20 years haunted him and exacerbated his other mental health conditions. Clint spiraled into an abyss, his subsequent years of destructive behavior culminating in a suicide attempt – as his wife, Joanie, stood before him – on his Nevada ranch in 2009.
Now, long after the end of his playing career, he’s tossed his mask aside, literally and figuratively, with a clear vision and purpose. He published his autobiography – A Matter of Inches: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond – in November 2014. And with a bullet still lodged inches from his brain serving as a constant reminder of his good fortune, he’s making the greatest saves of his life, sharing his darkness so that others with mental health issues may see that there is, indeed, a light – and that all of us can play a pivotal role in their recovery.