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Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine enters NHL/NHLPA player assistance program

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine is entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, according to an announcement from the league. Laine will be away from the team indefinitely as he receives care from the league’s program.

According to the terms of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, Laine can return to the Blue Jackets once he’s cleared by the program’s administrators.

“Patrik has our complete support, and our sole concern is his well-being,” Blue Jackets general manager and alternate governor Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “Out of respect for Patrik, we will have no further comment.”

Following the announcement, Laine posted a statement on his Instagram story in which he thanked the team, league, and fans for their “understanding and support.”

“After careful consideration and discussions with my support network and the team, I have recognized the importance of prioritizing my mental health and well-being,” Laine wrote in the statement. “Hockey has been my passion and my life, but I have come to realize that in order too perform at my best, I need to take this time to focus on myself.”

“I am grateful for the understanding and support of my team, the league, and our fans during this time,” he added.

Laine, 25, has dealt with mental health issues in the past. In October, he donated $1,000 to OhioHealth for mental health support in the community.

The Blue Jackets star has been out of the lineup since he suffered a fractured clavicle last month. Laine has scored six goals and recorded three assists in just 18 games during the 2023-24 season.

Laine was originally selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. He is currently in his third season with the Blue Jackets after the Jets traded him back in 2021.

Laine became the third NHL player to utilize the player assistance program this season. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was placed in the program in November after detailing his issues with alcohol abuse and depression and missed a month of action.

Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin also joined the program earlier this month.

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