Written by Sabine Demosthenes
MONTREAL – Back in the winter of 2001, my brother came home from work and told me that he came face to face with Sheldon Souray. He was like in awe, literally! I was listening to every word he said – from him being one of the most dominating players of the Habs, to damn, the guy has that movie star ” it factor”.
I was still a Habs fan, but during that period, I was more into watching the Premiership League of Soccer over the NHL. So, I googled the name “Sheldon Souray” and I clearly saw what my brother had described to me. This guy is the absolute total package! He will rock this world on and off the ice.
Suddenly, I was back into watching hockey and when Saku Koivu came back from his cancer treatment, I was even more proud to be a Habs girl!
The years have passed and Sheldon continued to be a star in the NHL until a wrist injury ended his career.
The guy who seemed to have it all, a nice career, good looks, charisma, fame, money and two young children in awe of him, but no one prepares you for how to deal when the one thing that defines you (in his case, being a hockey player) is no longer part of your day to day life. The music has stopped and you are now a young retired athlete. Athletes work so hard to be the best of the best in their chosen field but are not prepared for the life after their athletic career.
They have to deal with the sudden sound of silence (no more autographs, no more practice, no more games). Boredom settles in and you have to redefine yourself. The struggle to find new meaning in your life is hard and can be a real challenge.
Sheldon’s life was becoming more chaotic and unfortunately, he became addicted to painkillers. Before it was too late, he looked up to his hero’s accomplishments, his father, Richard Souray.
His father made one of the best decisions of his life two decades ago when he decided to stop drinking and overcome alcoholism. Richard has always been a hero to Sheldon.
Two years ago, when Richard passed away, stricken with grief, Sheldon was at his lowest. His addictions almost got the best of him, but he remembered his hero’s determination to be sober for his son and his family and to enjoy life.
Richard saved Sheldon life.
There is a really nice interview that Sheldon did with Stu Cowan in The Gazette and I will gladly put the link below. What I admire most about Sheldon is he desire to be an authentic human being. He never pretended to be perfect, but he wanted to be a good man. I remember when John Kennedy Jr said he wanted to be remembered too for being a good man, instead of a great man.
Sheldon shared his brave story and he is on a mission with the help of his family and his friends.
The sky will be the limit for Sheldon. I’m pretty sure the best is yet to come.