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Kurtis Gabriel
Photo credit: https://sanjosehockeynow.com/

Former NHLer shares news of diagnosis while hoping to inspire

Published April 23, 2024 at 7:40
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Former NHL forward Kurtis Gabriel was a professional in the league for nine years. Bouncing between the NHL and AHL, the 6'6, over 200 lb Ontario native didn't score many goals during his career but he would always be willing to provide energy, physicality and defend his teammates when called upon.

Gabriel last skated in the NHL during the 2021-2022 season for the Chicago Blackhawks, appearing in two games.

The 31 year old, has been away from the spotlight since his retirement, but took the time yesterday to post via social media. Gabriel would provide an update on his life and reveal that he was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder 14 months ago.

"Hello everyone.


Been a while for sure.

Thought would come on here and just address what's going on in my life.

I was diagnosed with the mood disorder Bipolar type 14 months ago now.

A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs, or in my case hypomanic highs.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn't known, but a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry may play role.

Losing my dad at 10 years old to suicide I think plays a major part in this as far as trauma and genetics, as well as the roller coaster career had in hockey, and the hits to head.

It has been a pretty tough at times since and it has wreaked havoc in my personal & professional life.

It was long over due, and it is clear now looking back, that I was struggling with it even early in my professional hockey career.

In fact almost 6 years ago I had someone important in my life and their father bring to my attention I might have this mood disorder, but I did not want to hear it.

I believe the role I played in hockey was as close to a perfect cover up for it as you can find for both myself but others as well. "He has to be little different to do that job."

I was used to being told I was so "passionate" and "crazy" that I took it as further confirmation of that instead of a serious concern.

I am still trying to come to terms with my diagnosis. Bipolar is not something that can be cured, but it can be managed into remission, and consistently worked at to keep it there.

I have lived a very privileged life, with hockey being my main focus for 13 years from 16-29.

Now just a couple days removed from my 31st birthday, I am looking to work hard at accepting and managing my diagnosis, integrate myself back into society, hopefully spread awareness and help others with Bipolar and other mood disorders along the way.

Don't know how much am going to post, just throwing this out there."


With a focus on mental health such a priority in society it is great to see Gabriel share his story. Hopefully it will inspire others to seek help if needed.

We all wish Gabriel all the best in retirement.
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April 23   |   135 answers
Former NHLer shares news of diagnosis while hoping to inspire

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