Former Icegator Scott Darling Details His Battle With Alcoholism & Journey To The NHL
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling won a Stanley Cup championship with his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, but his journey to get to that point was as improbable as it was inspiring.
Traded to Carolina recently, Darling penned a letter for the The Players' Tribune to bid farewell to Chicago.
Before he did it, no one had ever made it to the NHL from the Southern Pro Hockey League (SPHL). Who did Darling play with in the SPHL? The Louisiana Icegators.
Goodbye, Chicago | The Players' Tribune
They were absolutely amazing. The nicest people in the world. But I had just come from an NHL training camp, and now I was driving through the backwoods of Louisiana with three old ladies in a giant Chevy, going to play for a team called the IceGators. And that’s when a thought struck me for the first time: How the f*** did this happen?
I actually loved that Louisiana team, and I loved the town of Lafayette. But I had fallen so far, and instead of facing the reality, I drank to forget it. I was only making $200 a week, so my routine was pretty sad. After practice I would go to Subway and get a $5 foot-long, and then I’d go to the liquor store and get the cheapest bottle possible. And then I’d go home and drink on the couch. That was my whole day.
Throughout his letter, Darling opens up about his life, hitting a rock bottom in his battle with alcoholism, going to rehab, living in his parents basement and so much more.
Whether you're a hockey fan or not, or remember him from his Icegator days or not, it's well worth the read.
To see Darling's entire letter, click here.