Former Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk shares his struggles with mental illness

Jul 16, 2018

A former Buffalo Sabre is sharing his battle with mental illness. Goalie Clint Malarchuk played in the NHL from 1981 through 1992. He also coached in the NHL and minor leagues. As part of WBFO's Mental Health Initiative, Eileen Buckley spoke with Malarchuk, 57, who survived two life-threatening injuries; one from hockey, the other, an attempted suicide. 

Former Sabre goalie Clint Malarchuk shares his struggles with mental illness to help others.
Credit Photo from Clint Malarchuk's website

In March of 1989 then Sabres play-by-play announcers Ted Darling and Mike Robitallie were stunned as they were calling the hockey game on home ice when Malarchuk suffered a life threatening injury. A skate blade slashed his neck. 

“Oh my God,” said a shocked Robitallie. “God, what happened?”

After surviving the horrific injury Malarchuk continued his hockey career, but he also suffered from mental illness. It actually began with obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child then depression, mixed with alcohol addiction. He now speaks openly about his struggles and attempted suicide to help others. We reached Malarchuk by phone who now lives on his Nevada ranch, about six hours from Las Vegas.

Clint Malarchuk injury as a Buffalo Sabre.
Credit Photo from Clint Malarchuk's website

“After the accident in Buffalo, where I severed my jugular vein in that game in ’89 with the Sabres, the trauma of that accident – really was like the perfect storm – everything really exploded in my life. My OCD got terrible, depression became a real factor, anxiety, having try and play in the NHL that pressured packed position of being goaltender was not the easiest on me at the time of everything going down the symptoms really got bad on all fronts,” Malarchuk explained.