Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner recognizes commitment to mental health as he moves away from carjacking

Mitch Marner is stressing the importance of mental health to get out of a scary situation quickly when he and his fiancée – Stephanie LaChance – were the victims of a car theft over two months ago.

“It was definitely a crazy day, luckily none of us got hurt,” Marner said. “That’s all that really matters in the end, but it definitely affects you mentally.”

Speaking at the Marner All-Star Invitational event as part of his Marner Assist Foundation earlier this month, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward said the experience would come back to him in the weeks that followed as he got behind the wheel again. But the support system in place allowed him to speak out on the situation.

“We’ve been fortunate to have people around us that we can talk to and tell these stories and get feedback on them,” Marner said. “Mental health is definitely something that’s important to me and my family and something that we take really seriously afterwards.”

On May 16, Marner and LaChance were kidnapped at gunpoint in Toronto’s West End. Marner described the situation as “surreal” rather than scary as it all went down.

“I don’t think you get scared after that,” Marner said. “Just the adrenaline rush goes so far through you that in that moment you’re just willing to do whatever the person asks. They wanted the car keys and that was something I was willing to give for what was happening in that moment and was aimed at me.”

The incident came just two days after Marner and the Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs.

“It puts things into perspective at times and is really glad it wasn’t more than what it was and was okay,” Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said of his teammate. “He’s fine and has as much energy as I remember he has every single day so he’s been through it pretty well. Obviously a scary thing.”

The Marner Assist Foundation supports various charities, including those dedicated to mental health, including the “Sink the Stigma” event as part of the First Episode Mood & Anxiety Program and Lumenus.

As the discussion of mental health grows, other Maple Leafs have also noticed the trend in a positive direction.

“It’s the world we live in and things like that happen, so having resources and being able to talk about unexpected or unfortunate situations makes it easier to get out of the other side,” defending the Maple Leafs, Jake told Muzzin. “The Leafs are doing a good job of providing that for us and it makes it a little bit easier to have someone to talk to or who is aware of things like that.”

The Sink the Stigma event takes place in London on September 15, about a week before the Maple Leafs report for the 2022-23 pre-season training camp.

After a career season in which he set new career highs in goals (35) and points (97), Marner is entering the new season with a healthy attitude towards life.

“We’ve had a lot of people reach out to us about this situation and a lot of people that have helped us and the love and support that we’ve had from my friends and family,” Marner said. “Her (LaChances) friends, family and just the Toronto fans have been amazing. We are quite happy and grateful for that.”

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