Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After Battling Anxiety and Addiction, Former Star Legein Returns to OHL as Coach

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After Battling Anxiety and Addiction, Former Star Legein Returns to OHL as Coach

Article excerpt

Former star Legein back in OHL as coach


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Stefan Legein was a junior star with the IceDogs before issues with anxiety and addiction scuttled his once promising chances of an NHL career.

Now he's back in Mississauga, hoping his story can help the next crop of Ontario Hockey League players avoid his mistakes.

A 2007 second-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Legein appeared poised to have success at the next level after scoring 67 goals and 112 points in 94 games over his final two seasons with the IceDogs.

However, Legein started facing off-ice struggles after suffering a shoulder injury while helping Canada win gold at the 2008 world junior hockey championship.

"I wasn't in a good place," said Legein, now a video coach with the Steelheads. "Everyone really embraced me as the guy from the IceDogs that who won the world juniors, probably took advantage of it a little much.

"I was at the point where I thought I was smarter than everyone. I had all this money that was continually going to be coming in and I could just make things happen as I saw fit."

Miffed at the Blue Jackets' decision to have him play just two shifts over the course of two AHL playoff games rather than represent Canada at the 2008 world championship, Legein neglected his off-season training and spent the summer partying excessively.

Once the realization set in that he wasn't ready for training camp, Legein feared failure in Columbus and decided the best course of action was to retire at 19.

"He wanted to quit hockey and it was a real mystery for us because here's a kid who had everything going for him," said Scott Howson, general manager in Columbus from 2007-13. "So then you're sitting there three years later and he's lost his passion -- was a mystery to us."

Legein regrouped, worked things out with the Blue Jackets and rejoined the AHL's Syracuse Crunch in January 2009. However, just two games into his return he broke his hand and missed over a month of action.

The issues off the ice escalated for Legein. While rehabilitating his hand, he was introduced to prescription pain medication. …

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