The story of a journey to reach the highest level of professional hockey would be compelling all by itself.
Imagine then reading a book about a player who not only climbed to the National Hockey League pinnacle of success but spent the better part of a decade battling alcoholism while doing so.
It’s all chronicled in the new autobiography “Chris Therien: Road to Redemption’’ (Triumph Books LLC/Chicago), which is available in bookstores beginning Tuesday.
The Flyers’ alltime leader in games played by a defenseman was part of the popular Philadelphia hockey team for nearly three decades – first as a player and later as a broadcaster/analyst.
On the ice, he teamed with Eric Desjardins to form one of the top backline tandems in team history.
Little did anyone know while Therien was helping the Flyers keep superstars such as Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr in check, he was struggling with demons off the ice.
As his career wound down in the early 2000s, Therien was concealing a drinking problem which bled into both his professional and family life.
In “Road to Redemption,’’ Therien opens up candidly and completely, reflecting on his life and career with perspective gained from more than 10 years of sobriety.
Therien takes readers from the blue line to the broadcast booth, sharing untold stories from life in pro hockey while laying bare his private struggle with addiction, including his ultimate low in 2006 after the death of his sister.
The book also details Therien’s deep bond with the city of Philadelphia and his new path helping others find recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.
Therien has become one of Pennsylvania’s most influential voices in the field of alcoholism, drug addiction and recovery.
Sober since Feb. 7, 2011, his personal journey as a professional athlete struggling with addiction is heartbreaking, astounding and inspiring.
An author, motivational speaker and mental health advocate, Therien’s work plays an integral role in the future and normalization of addiction and mental health treatment. Always ready to help, he often partners with recovery centers in the Delaware Valley area sharing his message of hope.
Craig Berube, former teammate of Therien’s and current coach of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, probably summed up best his friend’s mission:
“It takes courage for one to look in the mirror and admit something has to be done,’’ Berube wrote in the book’s foreward, “not only for his own sake but for the love and welfare of his family, friends and the countless fans who look up to that person as a role model. Chris did exactly that.’’
“Chris Therien: Road to Redemption’’ (co-authored by Wayne Fish) can be purchased by order in the United States and Canada at www.triumphbooks.com.