Hey, where'd you go?

Darren McCarty - former Detroit Red Wings forward (4x Stanley Cup Champion)

April 06, 2021 Collin Kushner / Darren McCarty Season 1 Episode 9
Hey, where'd you go?
Darren McCarty - former Detroit Red Wings forward (4x Stanley Cup Champion)
Chapters
Hey, where'd you go?
Darren McCarty - former Detroit Red Wings forward (4x Stanley Cup Champion)
Apr 06, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Collin Kushner / Darren McCarty

Darren McCarty is one of the most beloved former Red Wings in franchise history. He won four Stanley Cups with Detroit, played on the infamous "Grind Line" and will always be remembered for his physical, tenacious style of play. In this episode of the "Hey, where'd you go?" podcast, the former NHL forward describes growing up in Leamington, Ontario; his junior hockey days in Belleville, playing for the Red Wings, battling addiction and how cannabis has saved his life. 


Show Notes Transcript

Darren McCarty is one of the most beloved former Red Wings in franchise history. He won four Stanley Cups with Detroit, played on the infamous "Grind Line" and will always be remembered for his physical, tenacious style of play. In this episode of the "Hey, where'd you go?" podcast, the former NHL forward describes growing up in Leamington, Ontario; his junior hockey days in Belleville, playing for the Red Wings, battling addiction and how cannabis has saved his life. 


Darren McCarty:

I always knew who I was to everybody else. And at the end of the day, I was always the last to me.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Collin Kushner:

Welcome to another edition of the "Hey, where'd you go?" Podcast... I'm Collin Kushner... and we have a fantastic guest, a very long list of accomplishments. Four time Stanley cup champ . He's a broadcaster, a rockstar, an author, and you know what so many more things we'll let him get into it. He is Darren McCarty. What's up brother. How are ya ?

Darren McCarty:

What's up call . Nice to be here with your bro . How are you

Collin Kushner:

Doing? And how's the family in Michigan.

Darren McCarty:

Everybody's good. The weather starting to get a little bit nicer golf seasons around the corner. Um, anything with green on it? I'm all about. So , uh, we're, we're all good here, but we're all about this right now and , uh, love what you're doing. And it's great to be able to connect.

Collin Kushner:

I grew up in Leamington, Ontario, which is really close to Detroit. What was Leamington? Like explain ,

Darren McCarty:

Obviously I was bought out in Burnaby, British Columbia, the fact that , uh , same hospital as Joe sack and he got all the talent, but we took a bunch of cups out of there. So , uh, uh, but I grew up , uh , my parents got divorced and I grew up , uh , in Southern Ontario actually, when I was five years old, my mom remarried to Craig McCardy and that's , uh, he adopted me and that's where I took the name and Lamington give or take the house I grew up in give, or take 10 minutes for the Detroit , uh , Windsor border took me 40 minutes to get to Joe Louis arena. So I was going to Olympia. I remember in the seventies, I went to a game at Olympia. I went to more tiger games. I was a bigger tiger fan growing up, but obviously the , the wings back in the day we were talking before is that , uh, we've all had Steve Eisenmann jerseys when I was 10 years old, he was drafted to the wings and you know, the first , uh, I was always connected. And when you grow up in Lamington, you know, you're , it's when you hear , uh , South Detroit, that's pretty much where we grew up. So Leamington is point PLE the Southern most , uh, uh, part of Canada pili Island. Um, it's a melting pot, right? All my buddies that I grew up with were all Italians. I grew up, I ended up tomato farms and stuff like this. Uh , my, my dad owned an air conditioning refrigeration company. So I was one of those kids that had a job that you couldn't quit or get fired from. And it was motivation to do whatever it took to play hockey, you know, to make it out and stuff like that. But, you know, growing up in Leamington, it's about 15,000 people at a mile from, from the old rank. And, you know, it takes a community to raise a child because, you know , uh , from everybody in town , uh, you know, would see me rollerblading or be an opportunity to go skate at the rent before school all the time. And just, I just loved it. And I was supported and , and in that community , uh, was great, but it was a melting pot. What it taught me is that, you know, you don't judge a book by its cover, you know , no matter race, skin, color, whatever people are people. And I think that, that, you know, not only being Canadian, but also growing up in Leamington, it exposed you to such , uh , um , the world

Collin Kushner:

And your introduction to hockey. Obviously you grew up rooting for the red wings who introduced you to hockey for the first time. I know you're in Canada, so that's obviously the sport of choice, but there must've been some maybe little introduction along the way.

Darren McCarty:

My mom was a hockey player. My mom was the first captain of the Essex blue angels. Um, you know, my uncle Jack Roberts was , uh , was a big football hockey player in the area. So they it's funny because they said I got all everything. You know what I mean? I got the work ethic and the talent and or whatever else. And , but it was my mom and my mom. Uh, it w it was , uh , pretty cool because it's her passion, her passion of the game , uh , more so her love of sports , um, her , um, that's, that's where my love of sports has come from. So I watched sports, but my , my mom , my mom, Roberta's the biggest sports fan in our family.

Collin Kushner:

And Darren, you went off to Bellville as you like to call it bell Vegas to play some junior hockey and the Ontario hockey league , you claimed that you were not that great of a player growing up, but your last year of junior, you had 127 points, 55 goals. So you're doing something right, man.

Darren McCarty:

Well , uh, you know, my, my whole thing is, was always that I was not, not going to make it because of me. I would do whatever it took. It was if I wasn't meant, if it wasn't part of my path, it wasn't meant to be it wasn't because I didn't give everything on my end. You know, like that's one of the things is I don't live by what S um, Scott , you know, unfortunately , uh , made some , uh, suspect decisions live in that way in the past. But , uh , it's one of those things that you give everything you got and you don't turn around and go, well, if I would've done that, or if I'd done that, that bothers me the most, when people say, Oh, I could have, if I would only if I would only, so why didn't you write if it's that important? So , um, you know, but Bellville wanted it. What it is is that I learned early, I was told, see, I'm , I'm simple. Like I was a time before. I'm neat , man. You tell me what I asked you. How did you do that? And somebody says, well, in order to get there, you got to do this. And if it's gone through like, honestly, 10 feet of cement wall, well, that's what gets me to the goal. And I decided that that's what I'm going to take on. I'm going to get through that wall. I don't know how long it's going to take me, but the thing is, I'm either going to die, trying to get through it, or I'm going to get through it. Now, why I say that is because Brian drums, the most influential guy in my hockey career, when I moved away from Lemington , when after playing Banham hockey and went and played junior B hockey, he was my coach. And he's told me he was, he made it , um , cup of coffee in a minor league guy in a pro hockey guy. And he said that in order to make to the NHL, you gotta do one thing better than 99.9% of everybody else. And for you, it'll be playing physical and fight and stuff like that. And I was like, perfect, good. Okay. You know, so every, every year that it's a simple, if you look back and the games changed now, but the way that it was, this is your first year in any league, all you do is establish yourself, physically fight hit, do all that, work on your game, work on your game and practice put all the time in first on last, stop , all that. That's all it. And then that buys you space. And then in the night , it gives you an opportunity to develop your skills. So I went from like 12 goals my first year to, to 30, my second year of 55, my third year, the best part about winning player of the year and barring 55 goals. My last year is that my grind line line, my curve ball . You had a great junior year. He had 50 goals that year, but I had 55.

Collin Kushner:

You all , you hold that, you hang that over his head. Right?

Darren McCarty:

I got it. So good over his head that when we're in a conversation, somebody brings up, Oh, mom or something, Mac , you had this in junior . I said, Oh, but Malton, he'll finish the sentence for me. I'm not going 55. You get better. Like this, shut up and walk away. It's the only thing I can get them off . That's that's for sit beside me for years. And , uh, that's what sits beside me for years and freaking torturing me by putting letters and numbers in my Sudoku or my crossword. Right? So I malty ,

Collin Kushner:

Well, that's what you have to do. It's like when you have a sibling, right? My older brother's two years older than me. He can kick my, but the little things that , that the few things that I was able to do better than him, I hang that over his head to this day. And he's 31 and I'm 29, man.

Darren McCarty:

That's it. That's like drapes, I'll be 49 this year, but James will be 50. And he's got all this. You remember that paper? May 24, happy birthday. It's his 50th.

Collin Kushner:

I have to send him something funny. I don't, I don't know what you could do.

Darren McCarty:

We always do. Uh, there, it is always all the stuff.

Collin Kushner:

Send them a here. Here's an idea for you. And you could S you could just say, don't say it came from me. Give, get a mayor , a one pound gummy bear. One of those giant gummy bears from Amazon. Because if you think about it, what's somebody going to do with a one pound gun .

Darren McCarty:

I know exactly. I figured that , you know, those guys will drill a hole in it and frigging empty a bottle of vodka and let it soak, and then eat the bear , the sick, sick bastard

Collin Kushner:

Drafted by the red wings in the second round, back in 1992, what did it mean to you to be drafted by the team that you grew up watching? Dude, it's like a dream.

Darren McCarty:

You look at the way that it's played out, but to be able to be drafted by a , by the team you grew up rooting for. And, and also knowing, because they sat , they were the dead weight , you know, so like growing up and stuff, but the one thing is you might beat us, but we're going to beat the out of you. We have probing , uh , kosher and you know, stuff like that. So to get drafted to the tee , I remember I was in Montreal forum and somebody asked me the other day, what was it like? And you know, when the , your name, when they said 46 overall Bellville bulls , right. Winger, and this Joel went from my toes all the way through my body, out the top of my head, it was like this, I heard my dad yell and my mom's sort of shriek. And there was this like, yeah, but it wasn't like, that was just, okay, next step. Right. And I always knew that I wasn't making the wings. My first year, I had to go down to the minors , but I use the same philosophy. I had 45 majors that you're scored 19 goals, 278 penalty minutes with, no tens. You know, that's, that's some work , um, but established myself so that the timing was that , um, for camp and , uh, the 93 94 season Detroit made a change brought in Scottie Ballman , you know? Um, and I was able to make myself valuable enough because I always knew growing up and everything that once Joey left probably needed a Robin to his Batman, you know, Bob Provence, heavyweight champion, but he needed guys to fight off the slough and stuff like this. So , um, I , uh, I mean, you think about it all my, all my buddies that I grew up with this supper , all going to university of Windsor too. So they all had a house underneath the bridge and it was, it was awesome living the dream come true. And here's the one thing is that where I look back and it's, like I said, is that I always knew who I was to everybody else. And at the end of the day, I was always the last to me because, you know, there's one thing when you grow up in a small town and you'd get out and everything else, you have this sort of guilt, you know, like if you don't maximize it with your stories are the opportunities. And, you know, I don't know. It's, it's just that mentality because you're the one that got out. So you , there's a weight on your shoulders. It's, it's, it's not a real weight. You know, you put it on yourself, it's, it's, it's fake, but it's also too , is your self-awareness of who you want to be. And when you've lived your life and you're going a million miles an hour at the destination, a million miles an hour, when you don't realize the destinations in a waste system , what do I mean? Well , you're a human being. That means when you achieve goals, you want more, you know, you make to the , I make to the NHL, I want to win a Stanley cup. You know, I want to stay the cup. I want to win another one. I win another, you know , and you know , so on and stuff like that. So it's , it's about self-awareness. And that a lot of it was that I know for, for me, it's, it's not feeling that guilt or whatever like that, because I did everything in my ability to get out. And that , that was something that I didn't learn till the understanding of the why . Right. I that's what their McCarty's all about now is I , I need to know the why I don't need to know yes or no. I can handle that, you know, right or wrong, but I need to know why we're doing it. Or, you know, w why do I think this way? Why do I operate this way? Now I can figure it out. Then I'm not afraid to let everybody know because I've lived my life. That's the beauty of what God set me up with is being transparent through all my struggles, to now, to be able to talk to you, to be able to reach out, to know that, Hey, what you do is not who you are. And, and if you want to be better, you can. And I'm, I feel like I'm approval of that

Collin Kushner:

Hockey players are known to be tough, you know, rough and tough, and you're missing teeth and you have scars, and it's just this tough barbaric esque sport. And I think a lot of people associate with being tough and not being open and honest about your feelings or the struggles that you're going through. Why have you been so upfront and honest?

Darren McCarty:

Because I think that, you know, that's a great point because that's sort of your , your , you are supposed to be this, you know, it's sort of the thing as what it's like being a man, being a hockey player, being a man or whatever, you're supposed to have these attributes, and you're not supposed to show weaknesses , stuff like that, but that's not the truth because we're all human. And I'm more, more, what I realize is that a hide in the monster or trying to avoid the monster, I I'll turn around and face it. You know, there's no monster that's too big that I haven't faced. So the fact that if people want to face their monsters or help them, you know, because I've already faced mine, I know where they are. They're still here except we're friends. Now we realize , you know , they realize that it's, and that's where the surrender goes to . So the whole thing is that everything I talk about is the work that I've done. And when I talk about it, I'm also listening to myself because I have to apply it because if I don't, then I'm just another, you know, I might as well be in politics, you know? So , um, that's not me. So I that's, when I preach , get it, get educated, get medicated. And don't tell me, don't tell me what, tell me who, right? Because then we can get through everything else. And if my who and your who line up in a win-win, well, my people, your people, then we're , we're doing what we're doing. Doesn't matter. Right. It's, it's letting people know, I don't care what you do, but this is what I'm doing. And if you're not doing what I'm doing, off double or else, there's a fight, not just with me, with everybody I've myself with, because we're old enough now, like I said to to understand. And so that's the beauty of the transparency and whatever else and it's, and, and how long did I suffer because of that stigma and stuff like that years. But the point is, is that society's changed . We're more open, we're more educated on different things. So it's okay to not be okay. Right. So you got to get it out. That's the biggest thing, no matter what it is that you learn, you can't leave. And then here, you got to get it out and you know what, no matter what you're going to be, all right,

Collin Kushner:

You kind of hit on something where you tackle eventually tackle those monsters. And it's almost like you took your playing career and channel that into tackling the off ice demons, because Demac, you were the guy. When I watched that, I watched growing up, you would go after anybody . Like it didn't matter who you are, how big you were, you were going in there.

Darren McCarty:

And I look at it the same way as, as you see the Redwing behind me, right. That I , I, I live bleed to this day. It's I haven't taken it off. It's melted into my heart. It's part of who I am, but I've taken this cannabis plant and I put it on my chest because that is also the, the , um, the vulnerable truth with integrity that needs to be faced. So here's the whole point calling is that when I finally decided on November 11th to , uh, 2005 , 2015 to fight again, cause I spent, since I retired to whatever, I didn't care. And it was like leaving Las Vegas, not trying to kill myself, but I literally had gotten to 275 pounds. My blood pressure was two 60 over one 45 or solid . The reason I didn't stroke owner , I have a heart attack was the fact of all of the cannabis in my system that was protecting me to learn. So the education, but so you're right when I decided to fight, right. I made that choice that moment. And because I'm one of those people that I will accomplish, whatever I put my mind to, what am I going to put my mind to accomplishing ? So if it's sobriety and that's the way I won the fight, but the whole thing is I didn't, I couldn't do it myself. And I had the support system and the people around me. And that's the, you look around to your left and right. And that's where I can tell you, is that from my wife, Cheryl, who , um , I wrote about in my book, my last fight, true story of a hockey star , which I wrote, it's funny coming up on like nine years ago, I started writing that. And so much things have changed, but a lot of it looking back is that's the nitty gritty of, of the fight, but why, why it's worth fighting. And so it's one of these things is that this is who I am. Um, you know, I'm like anybody else, if I believe that this is what we learned from Scotty Bowman on the ice, is that you can make that mistake once. So if you want to change it, then you are responsible for changing for changing it. And what have you done? What have you put in to get out bottom line? What do you want? Something, what do you, what have you done to deserve that? What have you have you put in the work? You know, so instead of looking around and pointing fingers, it's all about pulling thumbs and looking at yourself and it's self awareness. I always tell everybody at the end of the day, look in that mirror and don't lie to that person. And when you can have an honest conversation, you can lie to everybody else. But the fact is you don't lie to that person. How do I know this? Because I would ignore them for so long being embarrassed too . It was one day I looked and I said, I'm not dealing with you right now. And he looked back at me and said, hope you're alive. When you come back. I was like, Oh, you're swarming . And then we started to have a conversation to get to the bottom of it. And if that's where it starts, where you can look yourself in the mirror and, and call yourself out on your and the college self out on why you want to be better or why you want to be worse either, or I don't get, it's not conversation, right? The universal conspired with you positively or negatively, whichever way you want. Right. So now it's just trying to use the influence and having fun, being able to connect. And for me, it's about connecting the people. Um, and , and it's about culture and, and it's to remind you and your age group and stuff of who you are and why you are, and , and you know, why are you McCardy fan? Well, it's because of this. And because of that, or who is the person when we're still living, like you said, you're, you're, you're giving me a call when you get into the kids. And, you know, we were talking earlier miner between 17 and 27 or eight now. So you've got a whole life ahead of you. But the whole thing is, is that we're all a part of the same culture. We're all a part of what it's meant to be. And you know, one of the things now is just preparing everybody for what's coming, you know, and , and the Redwing, because it's not you Steve eyes at the helm . It's not when it's when, so I'm going to guess four or five years, it took them eight. And in Tampa, take them half the time here. That's the way he rolls.

Collin Kushner:

I think the , the hard part, Darren and the challenge for all of us is to have that honest dialogue with yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge what you see looking back at you, because I'll be the first one to tell you, I had my own struggles in my early twenties. And I knew what I saw in the mirror, but I just ignore the heck out of it. I was at Arizona state having a great time. I ignored it, dude. And you want to know where that lead didn't lead to a great place. It probably sent me back maybe 10 years, two and a half years of just damaging sent me back about 10 years now .

Darren McCarty:

But that's your story, but that's part of your journey, but you did. So it set you back, okay? Whatever, but I'd look at it. Like that's not your path. Your path is the fact that we're having this conversation and you know that, and it's okay to ignore that person. But when you, the problem is when you want to stop ignoring that person and you can't, it's one of those of who you want to be and who what's your path and, and when you want to change, right? So you got to a point and, and, and trust if you trust me at all. So it doesn't matter when you're talking addiction or whatever, no matter how many times. So you're talking bows pills, whatever you're talking about, right. Is that, trust me, if you trust me at all, is that where you ended, right. You just stop and put it on pause because I've been sober for years and years and years, and gone back to it over time. And you're right where you left off, which means you don't reset. You don't, whatever your rate back in the depths of your addiction. Right? So in knowing that is that, and when you understand, like, when you understand what you're up against, and that you're fighting a losing battle, that's a battle that you're fighting. Right. And it's all, self-awareness, everybody's different, you know, to me, to me now, like, like, I like I'll call it. You can put out alcohol and all those are the same thing. I don't have. No, you know , you put a mountain Dew up there, dude.

Collin Kushner:

Well, you said, Oh , you say olives , all of that . You're not in all. Come on, dude. No , no, no.

Darren McCarty:

Only Israeli all is when I was in Israel with the Russian five movie, I ate three of them on a , on a bat and they were actually good. But yeah, no, all those dude , my boy , my guys with you . Even the pizza because of going to the pizza and then they'll put all Avantor and on one piece and then they know I can't eat pizza.

Collin Kushner:

Well , I got to tell you , I think that's a smart move on their part. Yeah. And they're on their part for you. Unfortunately you get to miss out on the pizza, especially if it's buddies .

Darren McCarty:

I exactly remember buying the pizza too .

Collin Kushner:

Your time with the wings you played with so many guys. Uh, and my favorite, my favorite moment w were, it was probably the grind line days. You must be in Draper. You guys just destroyed some of the best lines in the NHL. What made the grind lines so successful?

Darren McCarty:

You know what , um , looking back to it. I think that all three of us coming out of the OHL are growing up like , uh, similarly in Kirk ball being , uh, grew up in Hassler Ontario, which is, you know, outside Toronto and drapes through the Toronto kid . So we're all Ontario boys and play in the OHL. And just , um, I know I was coached by Larry mavity in junior and drapes was coached by Brian [inaudible] rest . Their souls are two of the icons in junior hockey. And you know what? It was one of these things is that I believe because we were as close off the ice as we were on the ice, we just, we thought on one wavelength, I think that the three of us had exceptional hockey IQ. Right. That's the one thing that, you know, is that I pride myself on, I was fricking awful skater, but the practice is that my, my , uh, but you know, that was the thing. I mean , I told James, I said, if I could skate, like you it'd be unfair. I mean, like, jeez , I mean, it'd be like, the game would be so easy. Um, they got to put some work in, but it was the fact that we, we trusted each other. We were on the same wavelength . So even though we played like a system, we always had each other's back, but we also knew where we would go . And a lot of it was because we would practice against the Russian flag. We've practiced, good-sized admins , Shanahan . We practiced against Lidstrom . We practiced against hall of Famers all the time . So that's what made us great. And we took the most pride in the fact to shut down the other team's top line , whether it was , uh, the Legion of doom in the 97 finals or Sakic or Forsberg and all those Colorado battles, that was our pride. And then, you know, when the big guys couldn't get her going and drapes and look and go, okay, boys grind line go tonight , you know, and we'd evolved , score big goals in that big moments. And, you know, we're an integral part, but we relished our roles. They relish their roles is two of the best penalty killers of their era and obviously the check-in line, but we could also score. So, you know, there there's, you know, drinks ended up winning the South D the one year and putting up 20 some goals. He could squat on a break , wait up for , he'd be a 40 gold man. But you know, again , malts and I had ma you know, we could score, you know what I mean? That wasn't our number one thing. It was either check-in or being physical and stuff. But when it came down to it, we scored some big goals. And that's what we're proud of

Collin Kushner:

The grind line was that was my favorite line to watch. I think people that knew hockey on a basic level or loved the red wings were always thinking they would always mention Stevie and Shanny and Lidstrom and all the guys, and in my head, I always felt like you're missing out. You got McCarty , Maltby , Draper. They will lock you down and wear you out. And I loved it.

Darren McCarty:

And it was a different because you , it was almost like the different , uh, you go out down the Russian five to be all pretty. And Steve and I, as men to stop and you get the offense and then it'd be like, all right, here comes the guy, you know, like it was a show, right? What are they going to do? They're running somebody , sticking somebody, somebody getting FaceWatch , somebody , you know, laying out there's going to be multiple guys laying on the ice. You know, like it was a different, that's what made it effective in the way that Scotty Bowman? I always say, he's not the greatest, just the greatest coach of all time. He's the greatest psychologist, right? Because he taught you that you don't treat everybody the same, because if you tell Sergei Federoff , you need to do this, this, this more, and you tell Darren McCarty don't ever do that again. It's the same message, bro. So it's all . And , and it's just the fact of it's the same message.

Collin Kushner:

Is that what he said? You dare don't do that again, bro.

Darren McCarty:

He would, he would, he would, yes. I could get away with a lot of things once and, and that's the way that it would work. So Scotty saved my life a lot, bunch of times by not letting me fight guys that wanted to fight me, usually the big heavyweights or something like that. So I owe , I owe him for not, not getting my kicked a few times because he'd stand on the bench and go up. I fight this guy. You'll never play a shift for me again. And I'd be like, you heard him kinda do.

Collin Kushner:

How would you describe your relationship with drapes? You guys were on the grind line together, obviously after Lemieux just drives his head into the, into the boards and essentially breaks the space. You get back, get, get some retribution. How close do you guys and what does he meant to you?

Darren McCarty:

Well, he's the closest thing that I have to a brother. You know, he's a , the older brother always , uh , you know, even though he's a year older, I think you can relate more to having a two year old brother, but always looked out, always, you know , tried for the best. Um, you know, the one thing with drapes is that it's even when the worst, I was the worst of the worst, it's sort of, you knew he was at a D most guys, like at a distance, but always, you know, always there when I was ready to put the work in, which led us back to, you know , the comeback in 2007 . So, I mean, that just tells you that everything that we've been through and then, and this is like 10 years after when the cop and the lockout had happened and I wasn't in a good place. I just finished in Calgary and I'd come off by a third sport hernia surgery. And I was in a bad place and come out of rehab and I came back to Detroit and it was December Oh seven and the beginning I remember, and I just had lunch with James and I said, dude, you know, it's like, it's, it was that I got something. Laughter it was that what? It don't live by what F's. And I was like, dude, I just had this workout facility. And drapes is always like, if you follow Stevie and drapes around like drapes or get sick and be didn't work out. Whereas like I get sick if I did, you know what I mean? I'm so old school. It's just like go out and do it. But it was always like when you needed your workout advice or what to do and just, you know, drapes as your guy . So he had this core workout place that he hooked me up with his trainer and I went to the gym , started skating, got it to a point where, where he was involved with the IHL team and Flynn , I said, you know, give me a trial, let me go play like this. So it worked out and I , you know, this is where Kenny Holland, who we call him uncle Kenny, because beads is close to like we're were , we're all real close, you know, dreamy , drapes, Ozzie , Marty, the point, all the guys, his kids who drafted and stuff like this. And now he's a GM and Edmonton and stuff, but it was just being on the radar. Nothing was promised. It was just the opportunity and I seized it and then I was able to find the love back and Flint in the IHL. And then I got to try out for grand Rapids, my first game of grand Rapids, I had a hot trick and eventually proved enough to Mike Babcock. You know, the, the big thing is I , you know, it wasn't about playing. It was being in the locker room, right. With , with drapes and Ozzy and malts and XE and uh , Pavel and you know , Dallas Drake and Nick and Homer. And these are my guys, right? So it was like the last sort of hurrah. But the fact that Holmstrom got hurt in Franzia got hurt in the first sector , second rounds, I was able to play 17 out of 22 games, even scored a goal and got my name on the fourth cop . So, you know, that just goes, you know, that's that, that, that one spouse, or just because, you know, don't tell me, you can't do whatever you want. And again, to use that mentality and to get in where I am right now, now that's the hardest fight that I've had, but you know, like, so they answer your questions that, you know, not only , uh , one of my best friends, but you know, he's always been that brother, you know, it's just like, I, I would , I don't have a brother, but if I did it, you know, I would equate that to the relationship that we have

Collin Kushner:

Before the lockout, obviously you and the wings part ways, then you go up to Calgary, how difficult was it to leave the franchise that you not only grew up watching, but the team that you, that you grew up busting your for and the city are beloved by everybody in the city and the entire state,

Darren McCarty:

You know , it was one of those things. It was tough, but you got to look at it as it was more of, you know, I see my responsibility, you know, I , the lockout year and stuff like that, I decided to go play rockstar with grinder . Instead of hockey, I was sort of burned out because the game sorta had changed and I was, you know, older and it turned into more of a job, but going to Calgary was awesome. You know, Darryl started as a coach there. Now. That's who I played for my first year, played with drama gambler, just got in the , um, and it's all fame and, and , uh, Robin regear at Warner [inaudible] out of black Tonia , Monte . We had , we had a blast, you know, we actually lost in seven, the first round Anaheim that went on to win the cup that year. So my first year was awesome. Loved those guys. I played on the grind line 2.0 with , uh, Marcus Nielsen and Stefan Yalow who had battled against the Colorado.

Collin Kushner:

Yes. The fun, yeah. And

Darren McCarty:

Box. That's what we call him . Sam and he's. Oh man. He is. So he's like image rates are so much alike in a lot of ways, you know what I'm saying? It's like, so we got along great. I mean, he's one of the, he's one of the best teammates and I had a blast. It was like playing junior again, the mentality and was, and um, had fun, but then I got hurt. And then , then didn't see eye to eye with Jim Playfair who replaced Darrell center . And so that led me back into my addiction, but it worked out eventually brought me back to Detroit and one another cop . So , um, but it was tough, but it was one of those things that, you know, I, it was my, more of my doing than anything just because of my choices. But again, you know , I don't , uh, if I'm going to , I'll usually make the mistake, not make it again. She didn't know what the , you know, like yeah . I mean, it's , uh, one of those things that this is what I did, this is how it played out. So be aware of what's important and you know, like how, that's what I said, it's, it's your life path. You have an idea, but you're not in control, you know? So it's, so that's just the way it was supposed to go. And, and , uh, you know, I , I don't live with regrets, but it's, it's definitely, I see more my responsibility. And if you know, that was 80 20 on my doing , I didn't, I didn't, I made it as easy as possible, I guess, the way that it played out. But again, when you drop the salary cap from 60, when you have a 60 something million payroll to under 40, you know, and you're making, you know, when you're making money like two and a half million bucks, then you're the guy to go.

Speaker 4:

When did that heavy drinking begin? Was that something that started during the junior days or early years with the red wings? When did that happen ?

Darren McCarty:

Oh, dude, that's see. I come from alcoholic family and stuff like that. So, I mean, it's like, that's all the thing is, I mean, you're either drinking or sir , you know, when you're young, I remember it was 14, probably stuff like this. And it was always that thing, but it was always the hockey that tampered it. Right. You know what I mean? The career that I'd always tampered it . So, I mean, my sobriety is, is not like every body else. I go, I go years sober. Right? Like I've , I've never, I never drank out of the cup until 2013, which was when I was drinking again. Because every time we went in the cup, I was sober, which I apologize. We should have 12 cups. Yeah. But it doesn't work out that way if I was sober. But so you can tell the different , if you go back chronologically and stuff like that. So it's just one of these things, that's a disease. And like I mentioned to you before, you know, I , I've a billion, millions and millions hours in AA and , uh, for therapy , uh , for treatment facilities, million dollars leaks spent on me. The whole thing is I live my principles , uh, by alcoholics anonymous. My program has a garden. And what I mean by that is that cannabis plant and the CBD and the CBN and the sleep and being an insomniac and , uh , realized that I was more of an insomniac because I drank to pass out than it wa or anxiety, or, you know, this different things, playing the role that you are, that leads into it. Not only that , to be able to turn off the fun meter, right? Like you say, Drake trace , obviously it's always try to keep me off the shots. Right. Like if you're keep me to beer, I was fine, but I can, you know, the traders would always joke. There's Mac disappear . And I know the buyer was chicks doing shots, you know, like that's just the way it was and , and to have to have gone. Cause I , I was one of those that I got sick when I didn't drink, not when I drank, you know, like , like it was like that physical addiction. So to be able to, through Rick Simpson oil, through the plant to get that physical addiction out of my body, you know, like that was the greatest gift to God. So I mean, like I have no inkling, I know what it is. And it's the surrender. The one thing is that I don't have to fight it anymore because I know there's certain things that if I do, if I drank, I die , I want to do that anymore. You know, there's a third of the time, June, 2009 and 2015, where I didn't really care. Now I do

Collin Kushner:

For those that are big fans of you in the end that have helped support you along the way, Darren, how do you describe that, that dark, dark place? Like I like, is there even a way to , to be able to describe it? Because I think everyone's always curious, like, how do you, like what's going on? Like in your mind, body and soul to get to that point,

Darren McCarty:

Abs you just don't care like it too. It's the mentality, excuse me. That either you're alone and nobody understands you that nobody can go through it and nobody's got the pressure you have or whatever. That's why it's you got to get it out. It's communication. That's facing the, facing the monster. And, and that's the thing is when I don't care. Right. See , cause I realize that I'm a battery of the people are my power. And the compassion that I have is for the person that is in the place that I was, or not even the place I go because they say, you know, rock bottom, no. There's, it's an infinite hole. You'll keep digging. You'll keep digging until you're done. Right. And that's what you realize. So the power of strength to be able to let people know is that I've been there because I don't think anybody could. There's very few that come back to where that I was not only physically, but also mentally, but also too . It's the same thing that drove me to play in the NHL and to do whatever it took. Going back to that wall analogy was the same thing that once it was all about getting that physical addiction gone, right. It was of , of alleviating that anxiety, that being able to sleep. So that's where the CBN, which is part of the CBD and all the educators for plant to be able to pinpoint and then to understand how education and stuff like this, how to go is it's it's I get it about, about people that critics see , the reason that I couldn't commit suicide is because until you get to school , right? I mean, at the end of the day, when it would come down to that, it'd be like, look in the mirror and go, who are you? kidding? You know what I mean? That's not, you know, everything, you know , and , and have not had that top. Remind me , remind myself who I am. Right. You know what I'm saying? And lead that way. So if I don't talk it and I don't walk it, that's, that's what I do because that's me leading because it's not my responsibility who hears me, is this an, I know that, that somebody out there needs to hear this because as long as you do not quit, you're always in the game and it doesn't matter how close to being out of the game. You are, that's irrelevant. It's just, do you want it? And , and then what I look for, and here's the difference, what I had to realize that if you're not going to put in the work, then I have to be respectful, respectful enough for my time to not deal with you because there's somebody that wants to put the work in. So it's not the fact that, like I got my own program to run it. I know what works for me. I'm still a work in progress I have work to do on myself, but I can, if you're willing to do the work, I always say, I'm not here to argue, but I'm here for, what do you mean by that? What do you mean? What do you mean? And go and do the work. My right hand, Aaron , um, whose stories even more incredible than mine, who is from the streets of Flint, white kid grew up in the hood and stuff like this, that our connection is cannabis. It has no idea what sports are, wherever this, but he's been my right hand for the last five years. And he's my, what he mean by that. And if you want to see growth in somebody and to develop that somebody who come from nothing or whatever else, and always realize that there was something bigger and, and now put the work in. So that's all it is. I'm just looking for people that want to put the work in and have questions. Well , what did you mean by that? What did you mean by that? Well, let's break it down and try so that you can understand, but it's, it's, it's the worst feeling is when you don't care about anything. Right. And then to be able to, and to be able to be honest and say, you know, kids, can't, there's no physical thing. And then it's nothing like been , it's not about your kids and stuff like that. But when, when, when you're in pain or you're numb or you don't care that nothing matters. That's when it's, that's, that's that area where I understand where people, you know, commit suicide or, or, you know, don't it's to keep them out and let them know that they never have to go there. As long as they're willing to put the work in

Collin Kushner:

How important is the self-awareness aspect. Because I think your , your wife or your friends, people can tell you everything. But if at the end of the day, and you've , you've touched on this, it comes down to you. If you're not willing to make the changes, if you're not willing to take those steps, then it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks or what anybody else says .

Darren McCarty:

Here's the, here's the biggest key, right? When I say, when I say that, what anybody else thinks about me is none of my business. When I say that is one thing. When I lived that a hundred percent and got to that point from caring, living as I , the last one of the party , you got to miss something, you know, the, the what ifs and you know , all of that from going from that to go on to, I don't give a F it's not my responsibility. What you think about me? You know, it's, that's your opinion. So self-awareness is number one. And self-awareness could be even too , is that, you know, you know, one of the things that I learned with all that rehab is it's called the heart virtue and your heart virtues . What makes you tick? Right? Mine is vulnerable truth with integrity. So when I'm in a room and shifts off, right, where it should , people should be uncomfortable because it a vulnerable truth that hadn't smarts 26 cents, whatever. That's when I shine, right? When, when the going gets tough, that's when I feel more comfortable, that's what I get calm. You know , then that's just the self-awareness of the responsibility. I like, because it's not the fact that I like to fight. It's not the fact that I want to go first, but my fear of anybody going before me is greater than my fear of death. That makes sense. Right? Cause you get by me, I go first, I'm leading the charge you get by me. I'm probably done. Right. But I don't want any of my guys to , they know that I'm going in head first. So I get that mentality of when you watch history of Kings, leading their armies into battle and stuff like that. That's the, that's, that's the way, it's way you're built. So it's , it's asking these questions and why do I think that way it goes, all goes back to the why. And self-awareness I believe is the key, because it's the same thing as, Oh, if you see somebody doing something that wow, you want to do, what are they, how are they doing it? Or what are they doing to do it? If you see that most people go, Oh, that's too hard. Okay. Well, you're not willing to do it. Other people will be like, Oh man, that seems a little bit easier. Right? It's all perspective of what you want to be. And it's okay if you don't know, just keep being honest. You're not supposed to know you have an idea. And then it's like, okay. And then sometimes life throws you curve ball, but it's all about being true to yourself. That's number one,

Collin Kushner:

You bring up , uh , I mean, you brought up so many great points, but I think like for instance, in the broadcasting industry, if you're in TV, usually start off in a small town, then you move up to a mid market . Then you get to a major market. Sometimes some people skip those steps and they get right to the big time. And there's so much jealousy that is, that has shifted towards those people. And in my head Demac I think, wow, like , that's amazing. Like good, good for that person. How , Hey man, how do I, how do I get better? How do I get to this point? Um ,

Darren McCarty:

Like that's it work harder? What have they done? I , I I'd want that successful person as that. I questioned , you know, like I want, all I wanted to do is, is see, you want to do the work when you, when you're not afraid that you know, that the bottom line is what do you put in to get out? And that's hard work. Well then you're not, obviously he's doing something you're not doing or she's doing something you're not doing. And it, and it's finding those people because more times than not, you find the right one that wants to share the knowledge and then you grow together. That's the whole thing. Woodward sports network. Why , you know, I've committed to do this afternoon show from three to five Eastern every day is , is to be able to bring some sort of , uh , not only sports and you know, obviously batting in Michigan's big, but also some , uh , some, some levity, some gravity to , to life. And , uh, you know, like, you know, sports and hockey is what I did. It's not who I am, you know, but you know, it it's part a big part of my big part of my life because it's, it's what I'm around all the time and what I enjoy.

Collin Kushner:

I mean, you're , you're absolutely right. And it's , it's just important instead of thinking, Oh, I, if you really want something, you gotta go out and get it. You got to seize the moment, figure out a way to do it. And it's going to be a grind, right. You're going to have to ask for help.

Darren McCarty:

And here's the thing, right? Sometimes the greatest gift is the one that you don't get. That's the one that you think you want so bad and it doesn't happen. And then it plays out, right? So you got to trust, trust the process, you know, are you, and at the end of the day, are you doing the best of your ability? Are you in? And if you are, then you gotta wipe your hands and move on because you can't control it. I mean, it's the whole thing is that it's like, if , if you've done your best and you've cleaned your plate, then why are you going to worry about it? Because you can't change it.

Collin Kushner:

When did you get introduced to cannabis and , and has it in some ways I, I get the idea that it's saved your life.

Darren McCarty:

Oh God , no, it did. [inaudible] you look at anything, cannabis saved my life. You know what I'm saying? Then I grew up like you, I grew up that here's a beer, but if you smoke a joint, you'll never make it to the NHL. So my cannabis journey was always, I was buddies with the stoners, but I was the , you know, we could drink, but you're going to smell because that was such a misnomer until my first sport hernia surgery in 99. And they were filling me with pills. And like I said, insomnia couldn't do it. That I finally, my buddy said, just smoke this man. And it was like game changer where I realized like Ricky Williams, like the football player that, wow, this is bigger than life. Like this something's the way to sec , why do I, why does this change everything? Or why does this, this bring, you know, allow me to sleep or get everything else off it . So I, I knew there was something there, obviously the education and stuff like this. And obviously I didn't really go to it, but when I needed it the most, and , and like I said earlier, I was literally, my organs were about to explode. I was like, literally, probably a couple of weeks from, you know, got be in bed. Cause she kept blowing up and it was sort of love of the cannabis community. And I had a caregiver and stuff and they took Rick Simpson oil, which is RSL, which is a plant concentrated down and as extracted with alcohol, which, which is so the alcohol that killed me, saved me with this plant . And then I did eight days of 10 to 15 grams a day. Um, the detox that I was out for almost eight days. And when I came to the physical addiction of the alcohol was gone, I was on my knees and I was grateful. And then I was mad because I was lied to like this and they got to this point. And like I said, I got to that dark place and didn't need to and stuff that me off. So then I got educated. Then I started to get educated. Then I, that I put myself into it as much until the fact that in and here I got with Anna Penn , Canada's the largest seed to sale producer cannabis in the state of Michigan. We got together , uh , when , when and aligned our properties. So I created the dare McHardy brand , um, right here , uh , as you can see, which is Laura state approved with the cannabis plant, the fist and the 25. And this is my CBD role on that as e-commerce. So it ships everywhere. Um, it's just given me an opportunity, you know, now, and , and, and obviously I, I'm huge in the cannabis community here in Michigan and throughout as far as judges and stuff like that. Um, but it was , uh , it's this opportunity, you know, to be able to walk it and talk it, you know, and put out my own stuff. And when you say don't tell me what, tell me who, and it's one of the things like everything is navigating people through, you know , the cannabis and, and, you know, whatever it is, because I believe, you know , the bottom line is it's not whether you do or you don't, it's, you know, you have an option, right? The minute you tell me, yes, I'm onto the next person you tell me, no. Then we go, do you know about the endocannabinoid system? And then I say, no. And I say, well, everything with a spine has one in this plan is specifically for that, like a food processor . So it's your responsibility to get it in. And your body will do with it, with the food processor, the endocannabinoid system, what it is. So now when you figure out what you need, you're your own doctor. And that's the beauty of it. Dr. McCarty,

Collin Kushner:

When , um, do you have any guys, current or former NHL guys, do they, do you , have they come to you to ask about your experience with cannabis former , a lot of former

Darren McCarty:

And a lot of it through the athletes for care, or , you know, like Scott Parker, Riley [inaudible] , you know, they're , they're different things out there. A lot of the concussion stuff that they're the civil side and the microdosing mushrooms and stuff, where the guys for the concussions have PTSD , they're on that train I'm on the campus train and stuff like that. But yeah, more and more and more and more. And, you know, my goal is , is to have these in every , uh , NHL locker room, you know, eventually to be able to, you know, produce the stuff that I know that they need under the guidelines of what will help. So that gets them away from the pills. But yeah, a lot of the, a lot of retired, a lot of alumni guys, a lot of guys in different sports. So it's all about the communication. And, and again, you know, we're, it's still young at some sort of points . So it's all about education. And that's the whole thing with the cannabis journey. I ain't telling you this, that, or whatever, I'm telling you what works for me, and I'm telling you this, but you got to go on your own little journey .

Collin Kushner:

It's an, it, it's an option. And I think that's the, that's the best part about it. Darren is it's not, you go to the doctor and they give you a pill. Right. And I think the old school mentality is, Oh, this is my only option. And w when it's not, and there are other options, my parents were into the homeopathic stuff and really into that. And so I, as a kid, I'm always, always thinking, what the heck am I, what is this? But, you know, as I've gotten older, I've realized that there are options out there. And that's the most important thing for people to know ,

Darren McCarty:

This is key, right? You're, you're an American or Canadian or whatever, where you got a freedom of choice, right? So this is all about your choice. In fact, I prefer you. Don't more for me, but

Collin Kushner:

We'll have that. We'll produce a commercial for you. And at the end, we'll say, I prefer if you don't have cannabis.

Darren McCarty:

Yeah. I don't like it more for me, but no , the humanitarian in me. Yeah .

Collin Kushner:

If you could go back in time, Darren, what would you tell a young team ,

Darren McCarty:

Listen to the people that are around you, you know, figure out who, you know, to try to figure out who you want to be earlier than not. You don't have to be everything to everybody. You know what I'm saying? Like it's , um, you know, but it's also too, is that I look back and I go with the person, the player, the person, you know, I had to live that way to play. You know what I mean? It's, it's a mentality that I wouldn't change because I know that that needed me to get there. Like this , this person here, isn't that person, God bless him . You know what I mean? Because I guess, so what I would say is that trust the people around you that have your best interests, you know, sometimes when you're younger, you think you don't listen to the people that you should know. That's , that's where I come in. You know, that , that's where it is. If I look back , uh , some of the decisions that I made, but again, that's part of my path. I mean, I can't change. I can't change anything because then, you know, that jeopardizes the cops that jeopardizes everything else. So we'll just the fact that I'm still here. We're going to just leave it the way it is.

Collin Kushner:

And again, I appreciate the openness, because again, it goes back to, we chatted about right when we started, how it's, you're a hockey player and you're the tough guy, and you're supposed to have this hard exterior, and you're not supposed to show emotion and you're not supposed to be vulnerable. I think that's a whole bunch of crap, man.

Darren McCarty:

Well, and you know what, that's the beauty of, of, of what your generation has given us is the transparency and everything, right? The fact that I'm here is through the transparency of the , um, this plant, the transparency of being a man it's, you know, to, to me, being a man is to own your feelings, not to hide from them , to be able to be vulnerable, but also be tough so that the fact that I can cry and punch in the face at the same time, it makes me dangerous.

Collin Kushner:

You can cry. And then you could, you could take your, your right hand, your armpits ,

Darren McCarty:

Snap, your neck. You know what I mean? You know, I will tear up and then snap your neck. Just like that. If that's, what's called for,

Collin Kushner:

If Darren McCarty in the nineties is skating after me, I'm skating off the ice. I am, I'm figuring out a way to get off the ice.

Darren McCarty:

I wouldn't even listen. I, I wouldn't even with him. So that's , that's tough . Cause he's easy. Cause he's , there's no rationale behind that kid right there . There's there's rationale. Right. And , and you can't get in front of it at his age.

Collin Kushner:

I love that. I would even skate away from him, Darren McCarty and real quick. I want you to tell everyone what you're up to now, man, in terms of the broadcast and you have something going out in Detroit and I would love everyone to know.

Darren McCarty:

Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so we started this , uh , Woodward sports now network , you can check it out on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter , uh, every, every platform , um, Woodward sports networks . So I've started this afternoon show three to five , uh, with Plarre last year used to be a, a dealer, an old deal lady and a good friend of mine, Tom [inaudible] , who's a sort of the Detroit dat of sports. And , uh, it , you know what , uh , what do I compare it to? It's like a Regis and Kathie Lee on crack. So

Collin Kushner:

Can you just say Regis and Kathie Lee on crack?

Darren McCarty:

Yeah. You know, it's , it's, it's a little bit of, you know , a sports center team. You know, I, I break down, we're trying to culture polar on Detroit and you know, I'm break down fights for her and stuff like this. And she won why to guys do this and do that. And you know, we talk everything else, obviously. Um, all different sports betting is a big thing. So that's a huge angle. Um, that grind time with Darren McCarty , which is my podcast, we are going to fire that back up , um, real soon. Uh, anyways, just getting the logistics , uh , down with the all new studio and stuff like that. Uh, you can always hit me up there. McCardy for on Twitter. I run that when our blue check Mark real Darren McCarty's , um, those are, those are huge Darryl mccarty.com . Um, and the Darryl McCardy brand. I think that's about it, but that's sure. And the band's firing back up. Once we get to go out again, the grinders coming back, grinders coming back, bro. Yeah . Check , dude. I even got the. The Hawks, the Hawk is even

Collin Kushner:

You're waiting . You've been waiting to do it ,

Darren McCarty:

Nurturing it, bro. So we were supposed to come out last summer, but the COVID but yeah, I mean we're, we're not, we're enjoying it. We're enjoying trying to enjoy everything, you know, just, you know, life's life and uh, let people know that if they don't ever quit, they're never out of the game.

Collin Kushner:

Listen, Darren, I appreciate you taking the time and I want to leave you with this. So I told you my family's from Detroit, my brother and I grew up watching you in the wings. And I asked my brother, I said, Darren, McCarty's coming on the podcast. What do you want to ask him? And he was like, no way he's coming on . I'm like, yeah. And he just wanted from, from us, he wanted, he wanted me to say thank you , uh , for all the fantastic memories that you gave us , uh, with our dad, man. I mean, he passed away about a decade ago. And so some of the things that we have left are the memories with you in the wings. So thank you for everything, man.

Darren McCarty:

No, I get it bro . But that's where we're connected and you know, that's the whole thing. It's always great talking because that's what I'm talking about as far as moving forward as you guys and, and to embrace those things. My dad's been gone for it's coming up on 22 years and stuff, but it gets easier. And you enjoy those memories in these moments because that's, you know, the importance and the fact that, you know, I, I say, well, you guys don't have to worry because you're one of the 15% that's, Demac fancy . You guys got common sense. So your old man left you with that. And uh, w we're in good shape and continue to spread the love out there and excuse me until you're back. But again, we're all, we're all a part of the same team. And it'll be exciting when you guys come back in a few years to be able to celebrate some of these Redwing games.

Collin Kushner:

Darren McCarty appreciate the time brother .

Darren McCarty:

You got it, Collin.

Collin Kushner:

[inaudible] .