Daniel Carcillo striving to prepare himself, others for life after hockey – Chicago Tribune
It wasn’t long ago when Daniel Carcillo would spend the latter part of his summers focused almost entirely on preparing to play another NHL season.
Things are different these days because with training camps set to open next month, Carcillo hasn’t laced up a pair of skates since helping the Blackhawks win the 2015 Stanley Cup. Despite being an unrestricted free agent, he isn’t even in contact with his agent.
“He called me the other day,” Carcillo said. “I’ll return his call soon. I’m not stressing out about it like I have in years past.”
At 30, Carcillo now has a different set of priorities, including being the best father he can be to his young son while also continuing his efforts to help NHL players make an often-difficult transition to post-playing life.
Carcillo has devoted much of his time and effort during the last two months to forming a not-for-profit organization called Chapter 5 that is in the early stages of developing a program to assist players after their hockey careers come to an end.
To maintain awareness of the cause and help raise money to fund the charity, Carcillo will host a party on his day with the Stanley Cup on Aug. 30 at the Dana Hotel and Spa in Chicago from 12-4 p.m. Fans who purchase tickets to the event will be able to meet Carcillo and take a picture with the Cup. Also included is a cocktail party, silent auction of sports memorabilia and a Chapter 5 T-shirt. Proceeds will go to Chapter 5, which honors former Hawks defenseman and Carcillo’s close friend Steve Montador, who died Feb. 15, 2015.
“It’s called Chapter 5 because it’s the next chapter of an athlete’s life,” Carcillo said. “It’s turning the page and really having to do something out of the norm and something that most of us really aren’t prepared for. It’s helping guys transition into real life and kind of re-purpose lives by putting our drive and our commitment into something else. And the number five is because it was ‘Monty’s number when he was in Chicago.”
Carcillo plans to launch a website in the next few months that will include a comprehensive program retired players can use to prepare for life outside of hockey.
“The first thing we would do with every retired player in the league would be to reach out to them and see how they’re doing,” Carcillo said. “And then, when they were ready, run them through a Stage 2, which would be a program that would identify their strengths and weaknesses and what they would be good at and what their interests are. You want to do something you love and you’re driven for.
“It’s going to be on a player-to-player basis because every guy is so different. Everyone has a different education and different interests. It’s just tapping into those and getting to know a person and creating that personal relationship and then moving forward when they’re ready to move into another career.”
It is a cause that hits close to home for Carcillo, who after appearing in 39 games with the Hawks during the ’14-15 season that was cut short because of a concussion, is pondering his future in the NHL. After playing in 429 career games spanning nine seasons with five teams, retirement is a possibility.
“If I told you that I’ve already made a decision 100 percent to not play I’d be lying,” Carcillo said. “But every year, especially the last couple, I’ve definitely thought about it. And then when you have a son it kind of changes things because being away that long with that travel schedule is just not conducive to being the father I want to be. I want to be here and I want to see things.”
If he does walk away from the game, Carcillo would join the ranks of athletes beginning another chapter in their lives.
“I’ve mentally gone through it every single year with signing so late in the year,” Carcillo said. “You prepare yourself for not having a job so I’ve felt all those feelings and thought all those thoughts that guys go through and it really is difficult.
“We’ve done this one thing our whole lives and now all of a sudden someone makes a decision for you or if you’re lucky enough, you can make that decision for yourself and say, ‘I’m done and I want to move on.’ When that time comes there’s just no way around not missing what you did for all those years.
“I just want to be somebody one or two or 20 or 50 guys can rely on to kind of guide them through.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for the Chapter 5 event Aug. 30, go to http://goldcoasttickets.com/chapter5.
Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune
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