Chicago Blackhawks: The Daniel Carcillo Story (Part III: Chapter 5)

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Daniel Carcillo #13 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks across the ice during the NHL game against the Nashville Predators on October 18, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Daniel Carcillo #13 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks across the ice during the NHL game against the Nashville Predators on October 18, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Recently, more and more players are joining the fight in hockey. However, these fights aren’t against other players, but rather, against the NHL itself. Daniel Carcillo is one of many players who are now suing the NHL for withholding information about traumatic brain injuries. 

Through two parts of The Daniel Carcillo Story, we’ve covered his road to and career in the NHL and discussed the unfortunate passing of his close-friend Steve Montador.

PART I: The Road To The NHL 

PART II: Steve Montador

Part II went in depth on the relationship shared between Daniel Carcillo and Steve Montador. It covered the unfortunate death of Steve Montador and Daniel’s struggles afterwards.

He knew he wanted to do something to make a difference, but his history of TBIs decided otherwise. Carcillo went down a rough path experiencing the same kind of depression and darkness that he witnessed with Montador.

Watch and listen to Daniel’s own words as well as a preview of Chapter 5.

It’s a must watch.

Chapter 5

There are many parallels to be drawn between the life of Daniel Carcillo and Steve Montador. They both fought a long list of battles, including but not limited to addictions, TBIs, depression, and anxiety.

One of them is alive today, one of them is not. The difference?


That feeling of comfort which Carcillo’s teammates provided was huge for him, but not every player has access to that. Neither the NHL or NHLPA did anything to help Daniel or Steve during this time. Carcillo was fortunate to have his wife and teammates supporting him.

This begs the question, does the NHL and NHLPA has a responsibility in supporting players when moving on from the league or battling a TBI?

Daniel Carcillo certainly thinks so, but he didn’t wait around for the league to come to that conclusion.

Predictably, they still haven’t come to it.

Luckily, in June of 2016, he took matters into his own hands and launched Chapter 5, an organization which helps athletes to cope with anxiety, depression, and life after sports. Carcillo took his own experiences and used them to form an organization to help athletes who are going through the same thing.

Like alcoholics benefit and relate with other alcoholics (hence the reason AA exists) athletes are the same way. Daniel knew this, and created a resource network for athletes in need of help. Likewise, his wife helped create a network for other wives of athletes so that they too have resources and a place to feel supported.

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With the help of his wife and ex-teammate Ben Eager, Carcillo is not letting his life, Steve’s life, or players like Steve before him go to waste. Daniel and company created a new network and a new exit program for athletes leaving the NHL. It’s a step up from the NHLPA’s exit program which is simply a phone call every so often.

Daniel saw the issues within the NHL and the lack of support they provide and has thrown himself into creating the lacking support system for others.

The NHL and Head Injuries

Carcillo creating Chapter 5 in honor of the passing of Steve Montador stirred up conversation about head injuries in the NHL, but it didn’t stick.

His Players Tribune videos stirred up conversation, but it didn’t stick.

So, rather than waiting on the media or the NHL to realize their issues, Carcillo being Carcillo took to Twitter to call out the league on their concussion protocol, hits to the head, and the way in which they address head injuries as a whole.

Like any movement, his is based on creating a dialogue regarding an issue which he is passionate about. Carcillo feels as if the league is not doing enough to make players aware of the dangers of concussions and that they are not helping players enough when they are done playing the game.

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  • To his credit, he’s nothing but straight forward when sharing his thoughts on how the league handles this issue, either. For example, on May 28th, he tweeted “Family members, friends and loved ones are left to pick up the pieces of broken men after their playing careers are over, [because] of the lack of diagnosis & treatment for a #TBI sustained in the league of denial [NHL].”

    He frequently draws the attention of his followers to dirty hits made to the head and addresses how they could have been avoided and the possible side effects (oftentimes a TBI) the player will experience after taking the hit.

    The NHL is well deserving of this criticism, so Carcillo stirring the pot and calling attention to them is not surprising. What is surprising is just how horribly the NHL has handled concussions and the link between concussions and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy).

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    Tomorrow we’ll further explore the relationship between the NHL and CTE and additionally, what Daniel is doing about it.