Emile Poirier was a first-round draft pick in 2013, going 22nd overall to the Calgary Flames after leading the Gatineau Olympiques in scoring.
With the next selection in that draft, the Washington Capitals took Andre Burakovsky.
Alas, four years later, Burakovsky is an NHL regular, and Poirier still isn’t. On Wednesday at Flames development camp, the latter opened up about his issues with alcohol that have kept him from realizing his potential.
“I want to thank the organization, especially (Flames GM) Brad Treliving for his support,” Poirier said, per Postmedia. “He helped me. I had some issues regarding drinking off the ice, and I called him for support. It wasn’t easy for me at that time. The whole organization has been supportive, my teammates … Now, I’m looking forwards, and I’m fully healthy and here for the summer.”
In addition, Poirier speaks often with former Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan, who’s had his own battles with addiction.
Poirier has a long way to go to realize his NHL dreams. Last season in the AHL, he scored just six goals in 43 games.
But at least he’s getting help now, if only for the betterment of his life.
“I just saw my life and where it was going,” Poirier said. “I needed a change, and I had seen signs over the last two years. Finally, I admitted it to myself.”