May 25, 2014

NHL Alumni Association Not Helping Players In Need?

That is the charge a number of former NHLers are making right now. Generally speaking they are the lesser knowns and all-but-forgotten-abouts of the game's past. And they want to know why they aren't getting the help they need.

Former NHLers like Gene Carr. The one time Hollywood star can't walk nowadays.

“You don’t go to the well unless you’re in dire straits. I did. You know why I’m in dire straits? It’s because I can’t walk. And I can’t walk because of the job I did.”

Carr asked for $30,000 from the emergency assistance fund for controversial stem cell replacement surgery, which he believes is his last chance at a normal life. The procedure is illegal in the U.S. but not elsewhere.

He didn’t get the money.

Carr acknowledges the facts of his case don’t spark much sympathy. He had fame and fortune playing hockey but blew his money, quite literally, on women and song. He divorced three times, and hung out with rock stars in Hollywood, counting the Eagles, Bob Seger and Neil Young among his friends from his playing days in the 1970s. His trade from New York to L.A. is said to be the inspiration for the Eagles song “New Kid In Town.”

Asked why hockey owes him anything else, he takes a few moments to collect his thoughts.

“They don’t owe me anything,” he says initially, saying he would have taken a loan from the fund instead of a grant. But then he goes on to say: “They made millions of dollars with me out there, the owners and the NHL. I put my body on the line every day. Why shouldn’t they have some kind of medical for players when they’re done?”

Carr and others lay the blame at the NHL Alumni Association and president Mark Napier. They are supposed to be there to help former players in need. Napier responds by saying the dispersing of monies is out of their control.

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star has the full story.

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