This episode features Kelly Hrudey. From the world of professional hockey, Kelly comes a 15-year NHL career, wrapping up in 1998. Post-retirement, he transitioned into broadcasting and now shines as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada on Sportsnet and commentator for the Calgary Flames.
In this chat, Kelly shares his personal battles with mental health while he was playing and even now. He also touches how his daughter Kaitlin also has to fight everyday against intrusive thoughts and how they support as a family. We discuss the feelings of anxiety, panic, and self-boycott thinking. During the conversation we’ll talk about the importance of seeking professional help as early as possible and the evolving much needed mental health narrative in hockey. With his openness and vulnerability, Kelly is an inspiration for those seeking to shatter mental health stigmas. Dive into this enlightening conversation with Kelly Hrudey!
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[00:00:00] Rob Pintwala: Today's episode is with Kelly Rudy. Kelly is a former professional hockey player who played 15 years in the NHL retiring in 1998. He then joined the hockey broadcasting world where he currently works at SportsNet as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada. And as a commentator for the Calgary Flames, Kelly is a mental health advocate, and during our conversation today, Kelly talks about his own struggles during his playing years.
[00:02:00] Also in recent years, he also shared about his daughter Kaitlyn struggles with mental health and intrusive thoughts. And OCD. We get into the details about anxiety, panic, and intrusive thoughts and what they can feel like, why it's beneficial to seek out professional help sooner rather than later. And we also chat about the current state of culture surrounding mental health in the hockey world.
[00:02:24] Kelly is a great example of someone leading with vulnerability. And he's a great example of someone who is breaking the stigma. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kelly Rudy.
[00:02:34] Rob Pintwala: All right, Kelly Rudy. Thank you so much for joining me today on an actual podcast.
[00:02:40] Kelly Hrudey: My pleasure, Rob. Thanks for the invite. I'm looking forward to having this chat.
[00:02:44] Rob Pintwala: Me too. So we're recording here. It's the end of September and this is kind of the tail end of your off season now. Or I guess for the last, you know, maybe 30, 45 years ish and I'm curious. How was it? And you know, how are you doing after this summer?
[00:03:02] Kelly Hrudey: I'm doing great. You know, the season seems to go on longer and longer. If I'm not mistaken, Rob after the final game in Vegas this year when they won the cup. I think I came home on June 18th, and so I've been off ever since, which is, you know, so great.
[00:03:22] It's good for my mental health. You know, I was around town for a little bit. We live here in Calgary, and then we took off on a nice little golf trip. I'll bore you for a few minutes, but One of the things my wife and I love to do together is golfing. And so, on our way to Predator Ridge, which if you're not familiar, is a beautiful golf resort about 15 minutes south of Vernon in the Okanagan.
[00:03:46] It's a 36 hole course. It's just, I call it my happy place. But on the way out there, we love driving. So, we stopped in a little town called Golden and played their beautiful little course, and then we stopped in Revelstoke, another beautiful little town, and we golfed their course before we made it out to Vernon and stayed there.
[00:04:05] We were there for 15 nights and our kids and our grandchildren, everybody, all our kids, spouses, everybody, were able to join us for a full week, and then we made our way back here to Calgary. Went on another golf trip, went to Kyle and Dana Bacostas, their wedding in Canmore. So we've had a busy summer, but really restful and I'm ready to start the season again.
[00:04:27] Rob Pintwala: That's incredible. I love that. I love that area of, you know, the West Coast here in Canada, that drive. And of course it must be absolutely gorgeous. Yeah. Yep, so you're your grant. When did you become a grandfather?
[00:04:40] Kelly Hrudey: Well Maverick's five and a half and Archie's two and a half So that was in February of 2018.
[00:04:47] I'll never forget this So we of course knew Jessica was close. I was on the road. I was in Manhattan of all places. It was a Friday night and We're getting ready for the game. Rick Ball, my broadcast partner and I were in the Press box. I'm gonna say warm up just started. So we're really preparing for the game going over lineups and things.
[00:05:12] And then my phone rang. It's my wife, Donna, and she goes, I know you're busy. But I think Jessica has just gone into labor. And so you can expect at some point later tonight that you will become a grandfather for the first time. And so, you know, how distracting, right? I mean, it's an important game between the Flames and the Rangers.
[00:05:35] course, but this is a bigger moment in our family in our lives. And so, uh, somehow I got through the game. I'm super distracted though at times. I think I even sent a tweet or something out there that I apologize for all the people watching the broadcast. I was distracted. Everybody was amazing.
[00:05:54] There were congratulations and so on. And anyways, we're staying at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park at the time. The flames were, they went on elsewhere, but I had to stay the night because I was flying the next morning to Toronto for Hockey Night in Canada. And so I remember sitting at the Ritz Carlton bar, having a glass of wine and a little bite to eat.
[00:06:17] And Ryan Leslie, our sideline host, was with me, and I just couldn't contain myself. Anyways, I get up the next morning, I fly to Toronto, I do the show. Of course, Ron McClain mentions Maverick's birth and so on. And then I flew home on Sunday. I was supposed to continue on with the Flames elsewhere. I can't remember.
[00:06:39] And my bosses at Sportsnet said, Kelly, you don't have to go on the road with the Flames this upcoming season. Go home. And I think they gave me something like a week off. To just be around the family and stuff. It's such a great memory. And the same with Archie, when Archie arrived and just as you can tell, I'm just bursting out of the seams with excitement when I get to talk about them.
[00:07:02] Rob Pintwala: That's incredible. That's amazing that you got the week off. I got this. I've been excited about this conversation for a while. I'm from St. Catherine's Ontario. I grew up playing hockey my whole life. It was pretty much my only sport until later in high school when I realized I wasn't going to the NHL.
[00:07:20] And I really like it, I think. where I'd like to steal this, steer this conversation a little bit is in the mental health realm, which is where I work now you know, in Canada, but it doesn't really matter where you are, of course. And yeah, so when, in preparing for this conversation, you know, reading a little bit about your career briefly I always knew who you were growing up watching hockey.
[00:07:40] And now I, you know, of course I see on TV and what I noticed and why I reached out is because I see you. You know, being a little bit more open and vocal about mental health personally for you. And after doing some reading, you know, your family as well. And I just wanted to maybe start back to your hockey days of playing and understand like when mental health sort of just came on your radar. Like when did it become a thing for you that you had to be conscious of?
[00:08:13] Kelly Hrudey: Okay, so this is an interesting look back on my playing days. So, in the summer of 1992, I believe I was going into my 10th year in the National Hockey League. So, 92 93. During that summer, I started to have what I thought were some pretty rational questions of myself.
[00:08:35] Like, how much longer can I keep doing this? Donna was pregnant with our third child at the time. Things like... How long can I sustain this level of play? What am I going to do after I'm done playing? You know, all those rational thoughts that most people have, right? And knowing fully that, as I said, going into my 10th year in the league, the average career is ballpark around three years.
[00:09:00] And so I know I've already exceeded that, and at some point it's coming to an end. And I didn't know what I was going to do after playing. And so, you know, valid concerns. There's no question about it. But where it went in the wrong direction at some point in training camp and definitely in the early part of the season those thoughts went from rational to irrational and they went from.
[00:09:24] You're no longer, you can't do this anymore. And strangely enough, Rob, I got off to the best start of my career that year. And I was fighting all these thoughts and I didn't know what at the time, I didn't know anything about the loop and I didn't have any tools to break the loop. And so those thoughts are going round and round.
[00:09:44] And as you can imagine, you're aware, they get louder and louder, and they just don't stop unless you have the tools to break that. And I didn't. So it became almost, well, pretty much unmanageable. So in early December I went into a ditch and I couldn't get out of it. Luckily for me, my coach, Barry Melrose, in January of that year, so this is an extended slump now, Barry recognized I needed help.
[00:10:09] And not physically, but mentally. And so he introduced me to Tony Robbins. I won't get into the specifics, and so to work with Tony was a game changer for me, literally. Not only just on the ice, but myself mentally. And he gave me the tools to break that loop and to understand it maybe more than anything, how to understand it.
[00:10:29] And to focus on different things and so interestingly enough, I had gone from playing really well to probably the worst goalie in the National Hockey League to going to the Stanley Cup final that year. And so it was quite the journey, quite the rollercoaster, as you can imagine, and having said that, Rob, I ended up playing five more years in the league because of the concern that Barry had for me and the help from Tony.
[00:10:58] But I didn't know that was related to mental health. I had no idea. And as you can imagine, in the early nineties, not many people were talking about it and certainly men in professional sports were not talking about mental health. And so I was fighting this. Pretty much alone with the help of some people.
[00:11:15] My wife, of course, was a great support for me and gave me great comfort but it wasn't until I started to recognize. mental health through our daughter, Caitlin. Caitlin was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. She's now 30 years old and still battles every day. She's I'm happy to say she's doing great right now.
[00:11:39] But it wasn't until Caitlin went through her stuff in the summer of 2005, and then it was really in the fall of 2005 when she was going into grade 7, I believe, and she literally, I wasn't there that day, but my wife was dropping her off at school and she couldn't get out of the car. And so we knew we had a big problem.
[00:11:59] Caitlin went into extensive therapy for years and finally after four years she came to us. So now she's 16 years old. She said, Mom, Dad, I'm starting to have more good days than bad. Well, what a profound statement to hear from your 16 year old daughter. And so through that whole A journey learning to breathe with her and helping understanding about the loop.
[00:12:21] She taught us about the loop and all these different drills and exercises and things we had to go through as a family. Not only the three of us, Caitlin, my wife and I, but Caitlin's two sisters had to learn a lot about it and to be understanding about what she was going through So that's quite the journey.
[00:12:40] And then in 2017, I decided to write a book with Kirstie McClellan Day. And it's quite an experience and quite an emotional experience to write a book. And finally we're winding down the process. I want to say in August of that year, and we're finishing up and we're having a session at her house and.
[00:13:01] I'm grinding away, and we're going over just some final things you know, language, like, there's a few swear words, I didn't want very many swear words, because that's, I don't really swear a lot in my life, we, I want to clean a lot of things up in that book and then finally I just blurted out something, you know, if I'm going to be real, Then I've got to go back to 1992 93 because I'm telling a lot about myself and some other people in the book, but the biggest chapter in the book that I'm leaving out is that year and how my mental health got the best of me.
[00:13:35] And so it's kind of like a, whew, to get that off my chest that, okay, I've now admitted I've had this issue. And it was interesting because I was going to meet Donna and Caitlin. At Earl's for dinner that night. And so I asked Kirstie to send me a transcript of that chapter. And so I let them read it at the bar.
[00:13:58] And so it was, it was quite overwhelming, you know, to go through that. Yeah. And then, you know, I was good, you know, so basically from 93 to 2000 19, you know, we all have our stretches in our life where it's a little bit harder to manage, but pretty much, I have to say, I went through pretty unscathed.
[00:14:19] And then in the summer of 2019, I started to get those same thoughts. And I, this time I did recognize what was happening, Rob. So I knew we're out at Predator Ridge, strangely enough, because as I mentioned earlier. I consider it to be my happy place and yet those thoughts will get you at any point in your life and you have no idea when and why and where you might be.
[00:14:40]And so, I was thinking, I want to say I was entering something like my 20th year on national television and I started out with the same thoughts. Well, how much longer can I do this? What if it comes to an end? You know, those are rational thoughts, you know, it is coming to an end at some point. And then they went, but into the start of the [00:15:00] season in October, strangely enough, it ramped up really quickly. So it was three weeks in and those thoughts were becoming unmanageable. They were like, well, you better be perfect every single night, which is impossible on live television. I've never had a perfect night.
[00:15:16] Kelly Hrudey: I've had some okay nights, but I've never been perfect. and then all of a sudden it was just, it was a grind that year. And I'm disappointed in myself in the sense, Rob, because I knew what was happening and I knew after experiencing life with Caitlin, the importance of getting help and yet I waited.
[00:15:34] And so the start of the season 2019 and then March of 2020, of course, the pandemic hit. Certainly didn't make it any easier. It made it more difficult. And then finally, I want to say I did. Good thing for me. I did talk about it with my family. I just mentioned to them that I'm not doing very well, and I kept putting off going to see somebody.
[00:15:58] And then finally, I want to say in the fall of 2021. I did go see somebody which was a great relief to me. I was so nervous, oh boy, to go drive to that person's office and then I think I cried for the entire hour, which felt great. And then I saw that person weekly for months and months and it's just such a game changer.
[00:16:24] The advice I would have. To anybody out there that might be watching this, don't be like me. Don't wait so long. If you know something's happening, I should have known better. I've been around it. I should have known better and it's too painful to do it alone. And I'm just, you know, happy I did it.
[00:16:39] And now I'm doing much better in a tough year this year. But I'm. Making strides to uh, improve that. Today, in fact, is the day I'm making my appointments to see the person that helps me and just make sure that I'm on top of it before the season starts.
[00:16:56] Rob Pintwala: I love that, Kelly. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. yeah, I just think it's incredible. that you're open about this. You know, I think correct me if I'm wrong, you're in your sixties now. And I know your generation. You know, I think my father's probably about six, seven years older than you. And you know, it's not just your generation, but you know, I, so I'd be a millennial.
[00:17:19] Right. And it seems like people, I love what you said about not waiting. You know, don't suffer alone, but it still seems like, you know, it's just, you let it wait until it gets to the point where it's unbearable. And then that's, you're almost forced to make a move. And I wish it wasn't the case.
[00:17:41] And I think of something to try. Make it easier for someone to connect, you know, with a therapist, but you know, what was it like, you said you sort of cried that the first session you know, what, tell me a little bit more about taking that step. You know, was it back in, in 2020? Was that the first time that you saw it this, 2021 more recently, 2021. Yeah. So after like a year and a half of. Pretty intense suffering. It
[00:18:12] Kelly Hrudey: Sounds like yeah. And it was just, you know, I don't know how to put it in context. I think that I think a lot of people would feel like. Like me, that 's okay. Well this week. It's gonna get better today. It's gonna get better It's not gonna be as bad and my what my thoughts were It didn't really have a lot to do a day to day living It just had going on television and so if that's what you do for a living and Now you're beating yourself up about being perfect and the pregame show on Saturdays were becoming very difficult to get on air A lot of it was at home because back then we're working remotely.
[00:18:56] So it wasn't quite as bad. But when it really ramped up in September of 2021, I was in Toronto. That might have been like the third wave of the pandemic. I felt very alone because I was there by myself, but the hotel I was staying at was like a ghost town. Nobody was out in the streets.
[00:19:16] Restaurants were closed after every show. There was like I'd like to go out and have a glass of wine and maybe a little snack after the show. Every restaurant was closed. I had to go to this little convenience store, come back to my room. So I felt very isolated. I was just in my room or at work. There's nothing to distract me.
[00:19:37] And that's when my thoughts really got going. And finally I really did recognize then that when I do get home, I'm going to see somebody and I did. It's still like that to this day. When I, like I said, I had kind of a bad year this past year traveling to Toronto and with the flames and a lot of it had to do with me, I know at times, cause I have the tools I have to fight through, like I do recognize.
[00:20:03] I can't just go see my. Therapist all the time. I do have the tools. I can fight through an uncomfortable day. That's harder to do than, you know, just say though. Sometimes it just really gets you and it's especially difficult when you're away from home and you're alone. My wife is great though. I, you know, she calls me all the time.
[00:20:23] Ask how I'm doing or I call her when I'm desperate and she'll walk me through it and or talk me through it. And so that partnership is so important.
[00:20:33] Rob Pintwala: Yeah, I can imagine. That's incredible. And so as far as, you know, I think the way I, the two broad categories, I think people think about in mental health is anxiety and depression, you know, for the most part.
[00:20:47] And many times those two happen, they're intermingled at the same time. And I think at least for maybe we can kind of focus the conversation a little bit more on men. Yeah I know that yeah. [00:21:00] You don't always hear about men with anxiety so much. I mean, I think it kind of comes out in many. maybe frustration or anger or, and panic, right?
[00:21:13] I guess panic would definitely be in that, you know, in that And, you know, I have friends as well, who again, never struggled, but at a certain point they started having panic attacks, right. And it almost takes that, and it takes repeated doses of panic attacks to do something about it. And I'm curious because maybe, You know, I think for men you know, they're often thinking about like, well, is this bad enough?
[00:21:42] Like, is this I'm not suffering as much as someone else looks like they're suffering, I can handle it. and there's so much, you know, I'd love to hear from your perspective in terms of the waiting time that you waited to seek out, you know, would you attribute that to like shame or, you know, any feelings of you know, societal like norms and needing to fight through, like you, you still say like, Oh, I have the tools, I can do it like myself, like how do you attribute, you.
[00:22:14] That's because I think a lot of people are stuck to the point where they're devaluing their own suffering and it's easy to look elsewhere to say I'm not suffering as much as other people. Maybe you even look outside of your country outside of your neighborhood, right? Yeah why does that not work? I guess it's a question.
[00:22:32] Kelly Hrudey: Yeah, well, there's everything that you mentioned I can relate to. It's for me and everybody, every single person's different. But for me I was always a fighter, you know, just for me too. Playing pro hockey took every ounce of willpower because I wasn't as talented as a lot of people. So I had to sort of let it happen. I had to fight and fight and then you go through all the highs and lows as an athlete and you fight and fight. Go through some mental health challenges.
[00:23:04] You only know how to fight and so There's that part of it. I didn't go see somebody earlier because I thought I could do it on my own. I hoped I could do it on my own. A little bit of shame for sure. But I think that I've experienced what you are talking about now. Panic attacks. I listen with Caitlin.
[00:23:27] I heard of panic attacks, but until you have one, you don't know what they are. And I've had it since I got triggered, which I never have. Of course, I knew what the word meant, but until you get triggered, I think I've been triggered eight or 10 times now in the last two years, three years. So I understand that now because I've lived it.
[00:23:50] I'm now journaling, which Rob, for me, has been a great help. That's really beneficial for me in particular to look back and say, holy, I didn't realize I was in this spot, this desperate spot. And it's kind of rewarding and fulfilling to see when you have good days after that. And that you are capable of some really good days.
[00:24:13] And so all this has been everything that you're talking about, I've experienced I wouldn't say, though, that I'm depressed. I have other things that I go through, for sure. Anxiety, and it comes out in panic for me and definitely OCD. And, you know, it's funny. I was doing a podcast about a week ago with Ron McLean, and we're talking about OCD and how, interestingly enough.
[00:24:38] Kelly Hrudey: OCD can be beneficial for a lot of people, and I think it is for me, and it, you know, there's a good part of that, that it helps my brain get organized, get motivated, do the things properly. It's when it takes control in the manner it does for me, then that's where I've got to start to sort of understand it and not allow that to get the best of me.
[00:25:02] Rob Pintwala: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I don't know a ton about OCD, but I know a common term to represent some sort of symptoms or condition is like intrusive thoughts. And I think what you were explaining to me before, that sounds like what, what was happening for people who maybe are not aware of that sort of definition and not aware of how many people struggle with that. Is there any sort of, is there anything beyond intrusive that people should know in terms of looking, you know, at these thoughts and trying to, the loop you mentioned, that word a few times, like what, what should people maybe be aware of if they.
[00:25:42] Kelly Hrudey: Yeah, my understanding is OCD comes in many different forms. So most people think washing the hands and all those sorts of things is a big one as well. I do a little bit of that, the counting, but for me, strangely enough, it gives me kind of relief if I can do this thing and a bit of a loop, but not really, it's distracting for me, which is a good thing.
[00:26:06] But. In terms of for myself, I, my OCD, when my thoughts go in the direction I don't need them going they make me doubt myself, so I can't do this anymore, I'm not good enough all these things that they want to sort of ruin me in a day or in a certain time frame in a day, whereas Caitlin, her OCD, she has thoughts and I'm To this day, she wakes up every day thinking about getting a disease or dying.
[00:26:39] She has to battle these thoughts every day that she's not going to get a brain tumor today. Or she's not going to get it, she thought for the longest time in her life she was going to go blind. And so... But she does have to rationalize that. So what if I do get a brain tumor? Then she's got to go through.
[00:26:57] Okay, well, then I go, the doctor and I, we get a plan. We go, we get the help we need. We do all these things. Or, you know, what if I get cancer? Well, there's steps it takes. So she has to rationalize those sorts of things. The same as I have to rationalize that, yes, I can do it. And, you know, interestingly enough, again, when I worked with Tony Robbins, I had this laminated index card that I carried around with me that I looked at the start of every game and the start of every period.
[00:27:28] And I did it for the rest of my career. And I kept it in this little shaving kit that I had in my hockey bag for every game. And now I'm doing the same thing. I've just made a little index card that I laminated that I carry in my wallet every single day. And oftentimes, Rob, you will, if you notice now you will see this little card on the desk on Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada and, or, Almost every day on the desk in the playoffs because I need it gives me six little reminders about why I can continue to do this job and It's really good.
[00:28:03] Kelly Hrudey: It's real. It's a real Comfort level for me to look down at that card just before we go to air and know I can do it again
[00:28:11] Rob Pintwala: That's awesome, how has the community at your current job been supporting you through this? Have you been able to be open with the others? How's that for you?
[00:28:25] Kelly Hrudey: Amazing. Nothing but support and love and just they're so good. In fact, this year they came to me during the final. So we're, I think we just. Finished one of the games and my boss said to me before the game, if you have like 10 minutes after the broadcast, I'd like to meet you back at the hotel.
[00:28:45] We can have a nice chat about next year, which of course means this year is coming up and he said, you know, we're really concerned. We want to make sure we're doing everything in our power to make sure that you have, you know, No. A successful season and not too stressful for you. So we'd like you to maybe look at the schedule when it comes out and you can maybe look at being a little less busy.
[00:29:08] And so we've done that in the last two weeks. Now we're looking at the schedule. I'm taking a few Saturdays off. This year, which I've never done, and just to make sure that I manage my mental health and the other community I'd like to, and by the way, my other boss is my producer that I work with every single Saturday in Toronto, a guy by the name of Brian Spear has been just amazing.
[00:29:29] Like, he calls me on a Friday afternoon. I might be in Toronto already. Say, how are you doing? How are you feeling for the show tomorrow? And we just have these great chats, and then I have another community that kind of surprised me, and that's the social media community. So, I don't do a lot of social media work.
[00:29:46] In fact, I probably do zero. But I do three things. My Friday night dinner is on the road somewhere. And I like that just sharing where I might be having a meal and glass of wine and then the golf trips that Don and I take and then my mental health and that community there, they've been so supportive.
[00:30:05] And I find it really heartwarming that people say, Hey, way to go, Kelly. Thanks for sharing. And that's good stuff.
[00:30:13] Rob Pintwala: That's what caught my eye. I think it was your Twitter account. Absolutely. And it's incredible. I'm curious a little bit more about the current role, broadcasting, performance, and pressure. It sounds like it's a great setup, or at least maybe as good as it can be, I'm sure there's tons of anxiety about being on live television in general.
[00:30:35] But I'm curious about the, like. What might you be able to share around performance and, you know, you know, when you're on a hockey team, you know, there's points and there's all these stats to record and you have your save percentage and how many shots you took and all these things like that as a goaltender.
[00:30:57] Are there similar things in broadcasting? Like, are they measuring? The contributions from different members who are on the television, you know, and are trying to figure out, you know, can we get more viewers based on this group of people? You know, is it that kind of calculation or is there those pressures that, you know, you have to perform a certain way to satisfy this audience or how does that work?
[00:31:25] Rob Pintwala: Or am I way off?
[00:31:26] Kelly Hrudey: No you're bang on. At least that's how I feel. I feel when you're on a show like Hockey Night in Canada, I mean, the longest running television show in Canadian history, and you know, you get a lot of eyeballs every single Saturday and more so in the playoffs when you're on every single night.
[00:31:44] There's no doubt that you feel pressure to perform and it's very much like playing a goal in the sense that it's live. And so every mistake is right out there in the open and you can't hide from a mistake. And so you have to learn how to roll with the punches that way and just sort of laugh it off and no biggie, you're going to make more mistakes.
[00:32:03] And so that's been really good for me too. Sort of, and you've heard this saying many times recently, in fact, I think people in the last five or ten years have been talking a lot about this, about being kind to yourself. And so I've learned to do that a little bit better. I can still, there's still room for improvement.
[00:32:21] But it was. I made a big step in my life, broadcasting wise during the pandemic about a year or so ago, two years ago. So, doing a Flames broadcast with Rick Ball, and I'm the color analyst, and so... At the end of every broadcast, we record this hit that goes into the late night sports show, right?
[00:32:47] Sports Central, and so that clip is run over and over again. And, well, I take that back. Most often it's recorded and it's not taped live. On occasion, we go live. So, this one hit we're going to do after a game was, it was going to be recorded. And so, if, in theory, if I booted it around, I could have just said to the producer, Hey, let's do that again.
[00:33:13] That wouldn't be entirely unusual, right? Because you want to look good and you don't want that loop going round and round all through the night where people are going, Aren't these guys professional broadcasters? And that was lousy. Can't they do a better job? So, there's always that. That particular night, I wasn't a very good broadcaster.
[00:33:32] And I was terrible at that recorded hit. But this is an important step for me. I think I even told the producer, That's going to air. I needed to get into my truck that night outside the Saddle Dome and be comfortable with a bad performance. And just breathe. Go, whew, that's okay. You know what?
[00:33:53] That's okay. I wasn't feeling well tonight. Not everybody's good all the time, and that was a real big step for me. And, as you can tell, there's something that, perfection, and that's okay to chase perfection, but it's also to, it's okay to not be perfect and make tons of mistakes. And I think it's a good message for my kids, for other people that you're not going to be perfect, and it's an impossible task.
[00:34:19] To chase that and don't do it, you know, just be kind to yourself and be, you know, be as good as you can be, but, you know, don't beat yourself up because I, like a lot of people, I'm the master at that at times.
[00:34:32] Rob Pintwala: Yeah, no, that resonates a lot with me. Right? Absolutely. I wanted to ask a little bit about the culture in the game of hockey.
[00:34:42] You know, I guess we can direct it in Canada here. Well, I'll preface it by saying this, and I was thinking about this morning before, before chatting with you. So I'm from Ontario, grew up playing hockey at the youngest age. Tried to be at the most competitive level. I got very lucky and made triple the first year I could.
[00:35:01] And I got the most, most improved two years in a row, which said something about two years. So that was great. And really hockey just took over. I saw my parents dedication and I was in it. And most of my friends were through hockey and in that. And I can see my brothers and my nephew and my niece doing the same thing just outside of Toronto now.
[00:35:20] And now I live on the west coast on Vancouver Island, and it's not quite as hardcore as I'd say in the GTA. And... I'm starting to come across people who now have a little boy myself and some friends with children out here. And there is this opinion of hockey players that I'm actually starting to hear more than just one offs and and I'm curious cause folks out here and I'm trying to figure out if it's, you know, now in 2023, or, you know, if it's a different view of.
[00:35:52] You know, just on the West Coast here the culture and the sort of macho culture and the arrogance maybe of, you know, the view of young hockey players being these sort of cocky kids and turning guys You know, a lot of sort of parents, at least out here off the game. And you know, when I was growing up, I definitely noticed that I noticed some of the guys on my team, maybe being a little bit more outspoken and maybe arrogant, didn't really notice it really.
[00:36:22] Like I tried not, you know, tried not to follow in those footsteps, but at the same time. Like, have you noticed anything change of the last few decades with that culture? I mean, we're talking about mental health and you know, you're, you know, the people that folks look up to yourself and your colleagues on air and anyone you have on, you know, the alumni and folks in the NHL, but where do you think the cocky culture has come in like a positive way and what might you think it still has to.
[00:36:56] Rob Pintwala: Yeah,
[00:36:56] Kelly Hrudey: Well, it has to change. It has to become more inclusive. It has to rid itself of some of the arrogance. You know, I think that if I were to turn it around a little bit though, and go through my experience from when I grew up to where it is today, that's a major positive step.
[00:37:17] Certainly not where it needs to be yet but I think when you have great people like Sheldon Kennedy doing all the great work that he does and telling people about we haven't done enough looking at the changes at Hockey Canada what they had to go through and they're trying hard to become a better organization.
[00:37:37] I see a lot of progress, you know, Rob, if I were to tell you some of the things that I went through back in my day, and you know, in the 70s and 80s, you know, those I'm happy to say for the most part, none of those nobody playing hockey today will go through similar experiences, or at least I hope not.
[00:37:59] And I. Don't think I'm naive to some of the things, but you know, I think what happened back then was totally overlooked and irresponsible by so many people. And so many people were, you know, mistreated and, you know, just not right. And today there's still some of that going on. Don't get me wrong, but, and we're identifying those situations and we're making sure.
[00:38:24] Or at least trying to make sure those people are no longer involved because they shouldn't be and just even over the course of this summer, we've seen some things going on in the last few weeks about major changes to make sure that people that have no right to be in our game. They're going to be out of it.
[00:38:41] We'll identify them and make sure that the kids in today's sport have a much better experience. Again I would agree with what you're saying. There is a feeling out there, and it's for a good reason. The hockey community has earned it to a certain degree that they are arrogant and not everybody is treated properly and it needs to be better.
[00:39:03] No question about it. I would like to see, you know, well, we have two grandchildren, right? So I would like to see when they enter hockey that their experience is nothing but amazing. They can whatever, however far they go in hockey that they can look back and go, yeah, I met these friends. It was amazing.
[00:39:24] My coaches were really great. They treated me nice and I had fun every time and not ever look back and say, boy, that year was horrible. The coaches mean I didn't like what was going on. I didn't like what I saw. You know, those aren't the standards our family has, you know, those sorts of things. So it's a long conversation.
[00:39:45] It's a good thing that you brought it up because it's so important. I'm, I don't want to sound aloof or that I, you know. I'm not aware of everything, but you know, I'm a 62 year old guy, and the great thing about our family, and there's many families out there and I understand that, that have these same conversations, so we sit at the dinner table, usually it's every Sunday, and I'm not going to say it's a heavy conversation every single Sunday, but 30s so, you know, they understand life, and they've gone through things, and They teach me a lot about life and how kids in their 30s and 20s and so on, how they view the world.
[00:40:24] And, you know, it's for me to change. It's not for them to understand how it used to be and those are the good old days. I don't live that way. I think... How's it going to be in five years? How's it going to be in 10 years? Cause that's a better world than what it was when I grew up. And even though I had a great childhood, my mom and dad were amazing.
[00:40:43] You know, we're not moving backwards. We're changing. And it's, that's exciting for me. I know it's a long winded answer, but it's an important topic and there's lots of layers to it. And so, yes, the hockey culture has to change, but so does culture.
[00:40:59] Rob Pintwala: Really good point. I, when I think of that, I think of, you know, there's still a lot of outliers, I guess you can say with people who are, you know, maybe, you know, maybe very talented, but, you know, have challenges off the ice or something like that.
[00:41:13] But what I can remember is, I mean, one of my idols growing up and I spent a lot of time in Parry Sound, Ontario and Bobby or I never watched him play. I think it was too young, but like, Just the clips and the, you know, the way he played the game was sort of like the level that I look to in terms of the, you know, humility and whatnot, not that I was nearly as good, but you know, and I think that today's leaders, when I look at you know, both men's and women's hockey, like they're just most folks where in the C and where in the A's are you know, really exuding that type of leadership and humility and Clean competitiveness and that sort of thing which is just which is, I think what many people just love about hockey.
[00:41:56] Cause you know, I think yes, the culture still needs to change and has been changing, but the folks usually at the top, you know, at least from the outside you know, look to be the ones who you really look up to in terms of the leadership and they may not be the most skilled, but you know, someone like Tavares, for example, like I'm a Leafs guy.
[00:42:15] So, and I also like speaking of tomorrow's actually, and just hearing your, you know, having your second or third child, like mid, maybe two thirds of the way through your career and reading a little bit about how you welcome Patrick Marlowe into your home towards the end of your career. And just, like I said, it looks to me like you really value family and I can hear you talking about your grandchildren and light up and, I look at that as something.
[00:42:42] And I'm just curious where you would fit that in. You know, you're still being here as a professional, you know, on TV and your long career in the NHL and like, where does family, where do you attribute family to all of this and to, you know, the mental health world
[00:43:00] Kelly Hrudey: as well? Yeah, it's a great question again.
[00:43:03] Well. If you know about my upbringing, I grew up in Edmonton in a little community called Elmwood and my mom and dad are amazing people. I lost my dad in 2016, but he was a really gentle guy. Like, honestly, Rob, I never heard my dad say. One single swear word until his latter days, it was kind of fun, really, you know, he wasn't doing well and he had dementia and stuff, but, you know, that's the first time I heard him swear.
[00:43:32] And I think all my kids, my wife, everybody were in the hospital room at the time. We kind of laughed because there's. It was shocking to see my dad say a swear word. And so he was a really loving man. My, my mom, you know, we still bring her here down to Calgary every once in a while, we're going up to Edmonton this weekend to see him and they were just a beautiful couple and, you know, we didn't have any money, but they were just great people and they taught us about family.
[00:44:00] We had all, you know, We'd go to our uncles and aunts, our grandmothers houses all the time. Buna and Baba were Ukrainian. So we'd call one grandma Buna, the other Baba. And then on Donna's side, she had the same thing. Her parents were super loving. And now they've since passed, but they were the same sort of family.
[00:44:20] Donna had brothers and sisters and, you know, I think. To a certain degree, that's kind of why we meshed so well that we had similar interests that, you know, family strong. So, and that's why we continue that tradition of, you know, lots of family dinners and, you know, those conversations and you mentioned John.
[00:44:39] Tavares, I'm glad you did, because when you talk about hockey culture, there's a guy that has accomplished so much, and yet when you know, the camera doesn't lie, when he's interviewed, yeah, sure, he believes in himself, but he's very humble, and he comes across as just like anybody else. Across Canada regardless of what his job is.
[00:45:00] And so I just like people like that. I'm drawn to people like that. People that just really care for others, have empathy for others. And so, you know, that's you know, we're always going to have a few bad people, but that will be every occupation, right? You're going to find a few bad ones. Once every once in a while, we've got to make sure that their voice isn't too loud.
[00:45:20] And yeah, that's how I grew up in the best of ways. I'm just always so thankful to my mom and dad for that.
[00:45:28] Rob Pintwala: Love that. I wonder what your, I want to get your thoughts on the advancements in women's hockey recently with the new league. And I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Brianne Jenner, who we.
[00:45:39] We used to, my team used to call her up for our team. And she's a year younger than me back in St. Catharines, but she is an incredible leader and it was an amazing conversation, but I mean, I'm so excited to see the women's league start and wow. What are your thoughts?
[00:45:55] Kelly Hrudey: Well, I'm happy for them. They got it organized because I think I don't know enough about it But it looked like it was going to be a tough road in the future with two separate competing leagues and so now that they're unified and with Billie Jean King In large part behind it super exciting and the growth of the game has been truly amazing to watch how far they've come and You know, I think that Maybe I'm a little bit biased, but some of the trailblazers that I've met, like Melanie Davidson and Cassie Campbell Paschal and Hailey Wickenheiser and the work that they put in all those years.
[00:46:37] And you know, they're highly successful. In their own rights now that they've moved on, they're not playing anymore. But I think it's in large part because of their hard work and their efforts to see where the game is now. And you know, I'm just so proud to call them friends. And, you know, it's so exciting to see the game and how it's taking off and how people recognize how good the game is now.
[00:46:59] Rob Pintwala: That's incredible. Well, Kelly, I just wanted to say, as we kind of wrap up here, that I do think that, you know, speaking to you today and just having you on television and just almost representing, you know, Being vulnerable and being open. I think it's incredible. And I hope that you do continue on for as long as you want and as long as you can and you know, on, on the TV for the whole country to watch.
[00:47:23] So I appreciate it. Thank you so much for coming on today. And I just wanted to pass it back to you and say, are there any final thoughts or words for any listeners or, you know, perhaps you want to plug your daughter's clothing line.
[00:47:35] Kelly Hrudey: Okay. I'll do it. I'll do three things. So first of all I'd start by, I'm going to add one piece of advice.
[00:47:44] It's really important that you know, we have these conversations, right, Rob? Like, five, seven years ago, two men were not going to be sitting on a podcast talking about mental health for almost an hour. You know, we could have maybe had a podcast and talked about certain things, but we would have talked about work.
[00:48:00] We would have talked about certain other things and maybe certainly family, but not as deep into mental health as we're going. I find that so exciting. to move forward. Like, what's this conversation going to be like in five or 10 years? It's going to be so great that so many people are going to be a part of it.
[00:48:18] But that also is my other point. Just because Rob, you and I can share and I have with many other people. That's not for everybody. And I don't recommend it for everybody. If you are somebody that you're going through something and you need help, I highly recommend getting the help because it will change your life.
[00:48:35] It will be a much better life. More manageable life, but you're not required to talk to everybody about it. That's not one of the things about this. If you don't feel comfortable, please don't share it because it, you know, it can be heavy. It can be a bit of a burden to share, maybe too much sometimes. And so I don't recommend you do that.
[00:48:55] In fact, we have somebody that we love very dearly and they're going through things and they don't choose to share, and that's perfectly fine. Caitlin can share, right? You know, she's okay. Her husband can share. And then I'll leave you with the idea that there are more good days of clothing. And that is the genesis from the, I'm having more good days than bad.
[00:49:15] And so their clothing line, you can find it More Good Days Clothing. com. I'm wearing one of the articles right now. 10 percent I believe of proceeds goes to suicide prevention. That's very important to them. And it's just really comfortable clothing. I wear it on every single plane ride I go. So if you see me on a plane, you'll probably see me wearing a More Good Days hoodie somewhere.
[00:49:40] And yeah, it's just a great cause and I'm so proud of them. And Rob, I'd just like... Lastly, say thanks so much for keeping this conversation alive. I really enjoyed myself.
[00:49:51] Rob Pintwala: Amazing. Kelly. Well, thank you. And it sounds like people can find you aside from TV on Twitter or now, I guess, X. com.[00:50:00] Is that your primary platform?
[00:50:01] Kelly Hrudey: Instagram as well. I will say this just so if you go to those sites and you're looking for some content recently, I haven't. This is a good thing. I stayed away completely from social media for basically the entire summer. I think the last time I was there was on July 4th, something like that. And now that the hockey season is ramping up, I'll probably start doing a few things, but I just needed to be away and I just needed to be happy and stay away from that for a while, but I will be back and I'll be posting some things on mental health for sure.
[00:50:37] Rob Pintwala: I love that. Well, yeah, it's always good to take a break and we'll help you out with some of that content from some of these clips here, Kelly. So I like it in the chat again, and I can't wait to see it on TV in two
[00:50:47] Kelly Hrudey: weeks. You got it. Thanks Rob. Have a great day.
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