Canucks forward Tyler Motte, former Michigan star, opens up about depression

The Detroit News

Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte, a former standout at St. Clair and Michigan, is opening up about depression.

The Canucks on Wednesday released a video it produced from an interview with Motte about his diagnosed depression, and how he copes with it.

Canucks center Tyler Motte, a former Michigan standout from St. Clair High School, has five points (three goals) in 20 games this season.

"In sports and hockey, there's this mindset that we've come to adapt to where it's all about being mentally strong and not showing weakness," Motte says at the start of the video. "My only input on that is that it's not a weakness. For me, just accepting and saying out loud that I was diagnosed with depression and had a mental-health issue. That was the first weight off my shoulders."

Motte says he felt first started feeling the affects of depression during his second season in professional hockey. With encouragement from his girlfriend, Motte said he sought help from a psychologist, and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

"It starts off as, 'Shake yourself out of it; it's a bad day,'" Motte said. "It seemed to slowly build up and get lower and lower, and it would get to the point where you can't find energy to get out of bed and get to the rink. In those times, it gets more and more frustrating."

Motte says says he's learned to accept that he'll likely have to "deal with (depression) the rest of my life, but I still have the power to influence it."

Motte says, in addition to meeting regularly with the team's mental-skills coach and an outside counselor, he is vigilant in "maintaining social experiences" such as having dinner with friends, phone calls and simply reading or getting outside.

He says having those around him understand what he's going through also is important. He said the organization has been supportive.

"Hardest part for me was coming to accept it, because I didn't want to be treated differently, or looked at differently," he said. "But, at the same time, I think sometimes having those around you know and understand, can help you push through."

Though Motte admits he was nervous about sharing his experiences, he's hoping it will help others.

"It's not necessarily about telling my story," Motte said. "It's to help that one person or that handful of people who need to know they're not alone in it."

Motte, 24, is in his fourth season in the NHL, and third with the Canucks. A center, Motte has five points (three goals) in 20 games this season. He was an All-American at Michigan, where he was a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2016, given to the nation's top college hockey player.

He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.