Flames prospect Tyler Parsons is trying to spread the message of mental health-care to the NHL. Last season, -- including Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan -- . Daniel Carcillo, a former NHL winger who won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 -- has tried to bring that movement to the NHL while also . But in an interview with The Athletic's Scott Cruickshank, Parsons became among the first active NHL players to open up about his battle with depression.
A 21-year-old goalie that, Parsons' mom was actually the one who held him back from going to a Calgary development camp on the Fourth of July when he went on a frightened rant that involved talks of suicide on their way to the airport.
"I called [the Flames] and said: 'I'm not putting him on a plane … when he's feeling like this. And then for him to be in a hotel room by himself for a week? No.' We turned around and we went home," she said to The Athletic.
By his own admission, Parsons' mom made the right choice. "It's super hard to explain," he said. "But people who have been in that state, they would know. I don't think if I went on that plane it would've been good. I would've freaked out. I felt like a monster."
The Flames were able to accommodate Parsons.
"Not one person was mad," Parsons' stepdad Al Williams said.
Parsons is now determined to spread the message: Take mental health seriously, and talk about it.
"That's when things started going in the right direction … it was my first step to getting better," he said. "Those problems can be eliminated like that [snap], and more people need to open up about it. If you're feeling down in the dumps, talk to someone. I finally spoke up. I felt like I had a thousand pounds lifted off my shoulders. Recognizing it and kicking it in the butt right away is real good to do."
Parsons, a 2016 second-round pick, likely won't start the season on the Flames' roster with Mike Smith and Jon Gillies ahead of him on the Flames' depth chart. However, he's still waiting in the wings, and a good preseason can help his standing in the Flames' system. The Flames lost to the Jets 4-3 on Friday in overtime with Parsons saving nine of 11 shots.