Local author Steven Seftel will speak about his memoir, Shattered Ice, in which he details his hockey journey in the NHL and his mission to raise awareness about men's mental health.
Those interested in purchasing Shattered Ice will be able to do so directly from Steven at the event via cash or card.
In 2018, Steve Seftel had to rely on crutches to walk. His knees, shoulders and groin were swollen and he was exhausted. However, rest offered little reprieve because he was wringing out up to five shirts nightly - drenched from sweat - and suffering from persistent nightmares.
How did retired NHLer, Steve Seftel get to this point? Especially since based on outward appearances, he had everything: a solid career, a loving family and an active lifestyle in his home of Waterloo, Ontario. It was the cumulative effect of years of inner tumult (which he names “the beast”) that ultimately caused his body to shut down.
Rather ironic for a man whose physical strength, skill and stature combined to help make him a tremendous player at the game he has always loved - hockey. And, Steve ascended the professional hockey ladder quickly. At 16 he was playing midget hockey in Kitchener and only two years later he was at the Washington Capitals training camp. His life was the quintessential Canadian dream and a dream come true for Steve. However, deep down, he struggled with anxiety and was plagued by irrational thoughts that often caused him to be physically ill before and after games. Worse, he suffered silently and alone. This led to a pattern of running from situations in a panic-filled state. First, the NHL while still under contract at 24, then a college nursing program where he was flourishing academically and finally his supervisory position at Toyota in Cambridge.
This was the breaking point. Fortunately, it was also the turning point. Steve’s life changed dramatically because he decided to approach it in a new way. He reached out for support subsequently leading him to treatment for his mental health struggles and resulting in diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and OCD. He also wrote a book. Yes, approximately a month before he went on leave from his job he began penning the story of his hockey journey. While his initial motivation was so his two grown sons would know the stories from a part of his life that was a mystery to them, writing turned into a form of therapy and then catharsis. Steve got his legs back and used the discipline, focus and commitment that got him to the NHL to bring his self-published memoir Shattered Ice to completion.
So at 51, Steve has stopped running. He is holistically managing his health and is now a leader for mental wellness by increasing awareness and reducing the stigma about mental health and suicide. Specifically, he is normalizing the conversation about men’s mental health and demonstrating that it is never too early to talk about this important societal issue. And by doing so, in a manner of speaking he has come full circle. Remaining committed to the game he has always loved, he is now receiving support through a few new pieces of equipment. Young members of the hockey team he currently coaches in Waterloo are mentioned and photographed in Shattered Ice and can even be seen helping proudly helping him promote his book on TV, social media platforms, and at book signings.
What does this mean for you? Steve is issuing a challenge and an invitation- especially to men - to join him in a renewed conversation about men’s mental health, including suicide prevention.
His message is simple and direct: “You CAN confront your mental health struggles. I know because I did. The first step is by asking for help. This may also be the hardest because we - as men - have been conditioned beginning at a young age to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, when in fact it is the complete opposite. Asking for help and pulling in resources is a sign of strength. It is up to us. The time is now to think about our mental health in a new way. So, will YOU join me in the conversation?”