While this is unfortunate news, we can be happy to see the positive in this situation. The National Hockey League is trying to help one of its own and we are hoping it all turns out for the best.
On Friday, the NHL and the NHL Players' Associated announced that Florida Panthers Michael Haley will be away from the team while taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. The announcement was made on social media as the public relations of the NHL released a statement on the situation.
"The NHLPA and NHL announced today that forward Michael Haley of the Florida Panthers will be away from the team while taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. There will be no further comment."
Several former teammates and fans of Haley sent out support for Haley and his loved ones at this difficult time. The nature of his need for the assistance program was not mentioned in the statement as the program stays a private service for players across the league.
Haley is taking part in his second season with the Panthers but didn't play in either of the team's first two games of the regular calendar. The 32-year-old played in 75 games for the Panthers last season, recording three goals, six assists, and a league-high 212 penalty minutes. Haley also led the league with 22 fighting majors last season.
"Micheal is a valued part of our team and Panthers family," Panthers president of hockey operations and GM Dale Tallon said in a statement shortly after the NHL/NHLPA annoucement. "He has our full support as he takes the time he needs to tend to this matter.”
Haley, an eight-year veteran in his second season with the Panthers, missed practice Monday for an undisclosed reason and was taken off the roster the same day.
On Monday, when asked about the veteran centre's absence, head coach Bob Boughner wouldn't give a reason for it, only saying he would explain in a couple of days. The 32-year-old suffered a groin injury at the end of preseason.
In 205 career games with four teams including the New York Islanders and Rangers, and San Jose Sharks, Haley has eight goals and 17 assists with 562 penalty minutes.