He suffered in silence for three years, but former NHL goalie Corey Hirsch is in a better place after he opened up about his mental health struggles.

In an interview with CTV News at Five, Hirsch said his anxiety and panic attacks became so severe he could not play hockey anymore.

“Back when I was playing there was a stigma attached to everything. You didn’t really come out and tell your issues like that, especially a mental health issue,” Hirsch said. “I was worried that my NHL career was in jeopardy, so you end up just hiding and suffering in silence, which was the complete wrong thing to do.”

Everything changed when Hirsch went to a trainer for help. Then he saw a specialist and was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in 15 minutes.

“It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” Hirsch said. “You wouldn’t walk around with a broken leg for three years and not tell anybody.”

Hirsch is now a mental health advocate, going to schools and talking to young athletes, sharing an important message.

“We need to take care of our brains just the same way we take care of our physical bodies.

“What I can encourage people to do is you need to tell somebody.”

Hirsch shared his story at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert Tuesday night.

The 46-year-old played for the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars during his 14-year career.