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Kelly Hrudey chats with M&G about Mental Health

NHL goaltender turn broadcaster (HNIC, FlamesTV) is well known for his positively good nature

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"Heartwarming and heartbreaking"

{Heart-warming and he-art-breaking}

are the dual-end emotion verbs Kelly Hrudey used to describe the thankful feedback he gets almost everyday, from others, now comfortable enough to share their own stories.

Stories can be seen in a few ways. 40 storeys of stairs might be more daunting than 20 stories. Tell-tale stories are a way of healing - releasing emotions - even if told outloud infront of a mirror. Walter Ong and 'Orality' rings in my ears.

Hockey Habit

{Rabbit 5-hole}

Hrudey #32 is well known for his what i like to call "Ninja style" headband "look" - it's important for a goaltender to keep his eyes-wide-open.

{We'll come back to the topic of eyes}

Kelly's "hockey habit" is that he schematizes his toiletries - during his travels and hotel stays. The funny thing about his perceived OCD is when he started to draw out the layout of his exact set-up:

Paraphrase: Okay, so here you have the mirror (draws line) - here's the sink (draws circle in front of line). THEN on the right here, i put my toothpaste, toothbrush - this tall shaving gel goes here (draws upright rectangle, beside 4 squares).

{I thought he was done with the geometry lesson - but then}

Kelly draws two rows of squiggly lines going towards his 'hotel bathroom habit diagram'

Then I come to realize - just how clever Kelly is - the hockey habit looks alot like a drones multi-view of a goalie (circle) - defending his crease (mirror line).

And so when i asked Kelly - this "bathroom setup" of yours - are the products lined up in a certain order (of how you use them) - and his answer was a simple "No".

Which then lead me to believe, huh - I wonder how this hockey (let's label it) OCD may have actually helped Kelly visualize and perform better as a goaltender - knowing his bathroom mirror was being defended by his tall shaving gel - or if it is/was just an OCD (defined as obsessive compulsive behaviour disorder).

Definition-Diagnosis versus Label-Stigma

Words are important. SELF TALK. It was motivational speaker Tony Robbins who really resonated with Kelly. During a time (late 1900s) where mental illnesses were less defined or understood - it was easy to feel confused. Now (early 2000s) you have a global network of support (social media) - as well as critics. And this is why SELF TALK is so important - feed your mind the right words - the rest of you just might listen.

{Back to eyes}

Ironically it was Kelly's youngest daughter Kaitlin's "quirk" - her eye "twitch" that alerted Kelly, and wife Donna, of an issue (let's call it) that their 11-year old was experiencing. Kaitlin is now (just turned this past saturday) 25 - and joins Kelly in speaking publicly, and trying to express in words - emotions felt.

Staring Contest

Flipping through Kelly's book "Calling The Shots" with Kirstie McLellan Day - i thought for sure i would be writing about the Rocky Balboa locker room pep-talk, but nope - it was Tony Robbins who made Kelly realize that all he had to do was look "them" [mirror] in the eye while being candid. Kelly observed some interesting and funny "quirks" of teammates and opponents using this tactic.

His book even has a print of the Easter Epic (April 18-19, 1987) game sheet - where the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in the SEVENTH period (4th OT) - more stats/details on the sheet. Hrudey got second star of the game - after logging who knows how many minutes (do the math).

Here's the online link where the book comes straight to your doorstep (it's pretty much sold out in Calgary):

Calling the Shots. Ups, Downs & Rebounds - My Life in the Great Game of Hockey.

Staring opponents down (and reading them) is nothing new to a goal-tender's strategy, but Kelly had a knack of his own (you gotta read some of the remarks he made to these players), it's pretty funny.

Here's a little piece of sports history: