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Slater Koekkoek: “Anxiety Shows Up in All Shapes and Forms”

Photo by Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images

Slater Koekkoek: “Anxiety Shows Up in All Shapes and Forms”

For the second time in less than a week, an NHL player has spoken out about his mental health and battles with anxiety.

Following Pittsburgh defenceman Sam Poulin’s social media post related to his return to hockey following a three-month mental health leave, Edmonton’s Slater Koekkoek shared a lengthy posting of his own, this time via Linked In.

Interestingly, Koekkoek’s story is in relation to eating and his own struggle with an eating disorder. The body of his story is shared below:


“I left the game just over a year ago and thought I would share a little bit of my story throughout the next while In case someone else is feeling shame towards their anxiety.

You are not alone.

I left the game because my life inside of it had gotten to a place that was unbearable and unhealthy towards my mental health. I would say I played a majority of my professional games without the ability to eat much, if anything, the night before and the day of the games.

Hockey Night in Canada on a completely empty stomach?

Lets do this, I guess.

Anxiety shows up in all shapes and forms, one of the ways mine did was the inability to eat. I would get comments from teammates saying, “Hey Kooks you know the meals are free?” due to my weight dwindling, without them knowing the pain I was going through.

I would hear from GMs and Coaches that I needed to put on weight if I was to battle in the corners with the elite of the league not to mention the energy needed to complete these tasks as well. That just put on increased pressure.

I would be asked to go for dinner with teammates on the road. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat, I would isolate myself and usually walk the streets settling to discreetly bring takeout to my hotel room so nobody would know if I ate or not. I kept this in as much as I could my entire career.

My dad had a nervous tummy growing up, I thought that is all I had. But when being continuously scrutinized for my on ice performance it caused a downward spiral. A vicious cycle of needing to eat but physically being unable.

Be kind to one another because you never know what someone might be going through. And stop commenting on people’s weight… it’s friggen weird.”


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