Former Canucks defenceman Ethan Bear enters NHL/NHLPA player assistance program

Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
3 months ago
Former Vancouver Canucks and current Washington Capitals defenceman Ethan Bear has entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
Here’s what NHL Public Relations, said in their announcement, made Wednesday afternoon:
“The National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League announced today that defenseman Ethan Bear of the Washington Capitals will be unavailable to his Club for an indefinite period while he receives care from the Player Assistance Program of the NHLPA and NHL.
Under the terms of the joint program, he will return to the Club when cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Bear was in the midst of his first season with the Capitals, having signed a two-year deal with the team on December 28th. Bear’s contract carries a $2.062 million cap hit through the end of the 2024-25 season.
The Canucks, who traded for Bear at the beginning of the 2022-23 season, were hopeful they’d be able to re-sign the 26-year-old right shot defenceman, but things became complicated when Bear required surgery to repair a shoulder injury he suffered at the IIHF World Championship while playing for Team Canada in May.
Once he was ready to return in December, Bear signed with Washington and has appeared in 24 games this season, tallying one goal and three assists.
Bear was last in the Washington lineup during the Caps’ 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on March 13 and has missed the potentially playoff-bound Capitals’ last seven games.Bear has played 275 games in the NHL, 132 of which came with the Oilers. He has amassed 17 goals and 50 assists in his career, playing in eight playoff games with Edmonton during the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Established in 1996, the Player Assistance Program stands as a collaborative effort between the NHL and the players’ union, aimed at providing support to players grappling with mental health, substance abuse, and related challenges. This program, accessible to players’ family members as well, operates on a voluntary basis. Players enrolled in the program receive compensation while undergoing counselling, treatment, and other essential services. Additionally, a hotline is available for players and their relatives to connect with mental health professionals promptly.

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