Fedoruk is a 32-year-old enforcer who was out of hockey last season while he worked on some personal issues.
Both players are under a tremendous amount of pressure. While Stamkos has a contract, he now has to live up to the dollars that appear on it. Who’s to say that’s more or less pressure than trying to catch on with a team, liked Fedoruk is trying to do.
But obviously, there’s a huge difference between the two players. Stamkos is a talented offensive player. His talents are relatively rare within the hockey world, which is how he is able to command a large salary.
Fedoruk’s skill set is less rare, making it harder for him to find a job. When you’re an NHL enforcer, there’s usually someone who can do a comparable job for less money.
This summer, we saw three NHL enforcers die, with some speculating the life on an NHL enforcer was too much for the young men to handle.
I’m not sure we’ll ever understand the forces that drove those men to make the choices they made, but I’m sure the pressure of holding onto an enforcing job did weigh on them, to some extent.
Cam Janssen, the Devils’ enforcer trying to win back his old job in training camp, said being an NHL enforcer is a stressful job. He’s probably stressing about winning a roster spot over Eric Boulton.
The NHL and NHLPA are trying to come up with a way to help players.
I truly believe the league and the union are sincere and any mental health services they can provide to players will surely help improve the quality of life in the NHL. But the real issue is that enforcers are simply too common in hockey. They’re so common, the players become almost disposable. Players, like Janssen and Fedoruk, are always fighting for their jobs, and even when they have regular ice time and long-term contracts, they know they can be bought out or sent down to the minors.