Dan Murphy of Sportsnet recently caught up with Andrew Alberts, a big, physical defenseman who has never returned to the ice due to a concussion after a high, illegal hit by Brian McGrattan.
Alberts never played again. His crumpled body is the last image of his hockey career. Even more concerning, his life has changed drastically off the ice, too.
"Andrew Alberts isn’t looking for sympathy. And the former Canucks defenceman is long past looking for an apology. All that he is looking forward to is feeling normal again," starts Murphy.
Alberts, who lives in Minnesota with his wife and son, has to find a new normal. He entertained the idea of a comeback but headaches and dizziness quickly returned. He still deals with the aftermath ever day.
“It goes without saying, no one wants to leave the game the way I did” he said. “You want to go out on your own terms knowing you gave it all you had.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d still be sitting here dealing with head issues nearly 14 months later,” he said.
“At this point I think I need some time away,” he said. “I do check the scoreboard every now and then to see how Vancouver is doing, but I’ve yet to watch more than 10 minutes of any NHL game. It’s just not something I’m mentally ready to let go of yet.”
“I’m generally not a bitter person. I still try to see the positives in this whole thing. If anything, though, I am bitter about how much this injury took away from my life. I loved playing hockey and working out. And more than anything else, it was my first year being a dad. And I spent most days going to doctors and dealing with constant headaches.”
Alberts said McGrattan has never reached out to him. In a TSN 1040 radio interview he sounded bitter about that, but insists he's moved on from that. He does keep in touch with his former Canucks teammates and medical staff.