Former Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling finally got the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to his hometown, Chicago.
Darling didn’t hold anything back in his lengthy Players’ Tribune article, as he shared his struggles with social anxiety and alcoholism when he was younger. He also recounted moving fluidly from team-to-team in the minors before becoming the first Chicago native to win a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2015.
Darling said that Chicago will remain a special place for him and he took time to thank his fellow teammates for supporting him through tough times.
“I made so many great friends on the team, the p.r. team, the training staff, the equipment guys … I could go on for days,” wrote Darling, who said he’ll tell his grandchildren about his friendship with teammates. “It all means more to me than anyone will ever understand. I love you, guys. I love you, Chicago. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Three years before Darling signed with the Blackhawks, he checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse.
“I had no money, no hope. My dreams were effectively over,” Darling wrote. “I remember opening my eyes. The ceiling was blurry, and my body ached, and I thought, How the f— did this happen?”
After rehab, Darling got his second chance on the ice with the Mississippi Riverkings. He said his teammates used to call him, “Designated Darling,” and that he was the “world’s most revved up Uber driver.”
As Darling jumped from team-to-team in the minor leagues, he wrote that he became more comfortable with who he was as a person. And finally on the three-year anniversary of his sobriety, Darlings’ agent sealed a deal with the Blackhawks.
Little did Darling know at the time that in less than one year, he’d hoist the beloved Stanley Cup over his head.
Darling said the past three years with the Hawks were better than his “wildest dreams.” He said he was originally too overwhelmed to say a proper goodbye to the team when he was traded in April to the Carolina Hurricanes.
“For most of my life, I felt like I was alone. That’s part of the reason that I drank. I never felt connected to anyone, and I was always worried about what everyone thought of me,” Darling wrote. “I can honestly say that every single guy in that Blackhawks room was a great friend to me.”
Read Darlings’ full post in the Players Tribune here.