The NHL and its player’s union (NHLPA) announced on Thursday that Price, a former league MVP, will enter the league’s joint player assistance program.
The player assistance program, created by the league and its player union in 1996, is a jointly-funded group that assists players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other personal issues, according to the AP.
While the league didn’t specify the reason for Price’s excused absence, his wife, Angela shared in an Instagram post that it’s because of his mental health.
“Part of the privilege of being in the position our family is in, is that we also get a public platform to show how there is and can be a path for anyone who is struggling,” Angela Price wrote on Thursday. “No matter what is on the line, we hope we can communicate the importance of putting your mental health first not just by saying it, but by showing up and doing the work to get better. Carey’s showing up for himself and our family and making the best possible decision for us.”
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin shared that Price, 34, will be in the program for 30 days, saying that Price encouraged everyone to seek help when needed.
Support and respect ❤️ pic.twitter.com/RYDVT3CK6p
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 7, 2021
“Because your hockey career only lasts so many years, but you have the rest of your life, your kids, your family; that’s the most important thing,” Price said.
Price’s announcement comes as other notable athletes including tennis star Noami Osaka and U.S. gymnast Simone Biles have taken time off in their respective sports to focus on their mental health, the AP reported.
NBA’s Washington Wizards also announced last month that star forward Rui Hachimura will miss training due to personal reasons.