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Former enforcers come to the rescue of homeless drug-addict NHL'er

“You are not alone!”

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Walter Peat has made a desperate plea in an attempt to save the life of his son Stephen Peat, a former National Hockey League enforcer who played 130 NHL games as a member of the Washington Capitals, as a result of the effects of what Walter believes are multiple injuries to the head.

Walter recently gave the New York Times permission to publish some private text messages and emails he had shared with his son as well as medical professionals in the hope that public awareness will bring him the help he has been so desperately searching for. 

In a recent CBC interview, Walter revealed more troubling details about his son, now homeless. He shared the latest call he received from an old friend about Stephen, which was alarming. 

"He told me that he'd heard that Stephen was in downtown Langley, walking around, covered with blood, his pants down around his ankles," Peat said.

"I thought, 'Holy shit. Someone's either beat him up or he's close to dead,' and my heart sank.

"But I do realize that at some point in time, this nightmare's going to end one way or the other ... either he's going to get fixed or he's going to die."

Some former NHL enforcers have heard Walter's cry and are still looking to help Stephen, despite several past failed attempts. CBC met with Dale Purinton, who played for the New York Rangers, who is reaching to the Peat family to in the hopes of connecting Stephen with help. 

Purinton knows all too well what Peat is going through: "He's faced symptoms common with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a concussion-related brain injury, including depression. He used drugs and alcohol and even faced a burglary charge in the United States that could've landed him in jail for up to 25 years."

"I support him and I'm here for him and I can't give advice ... I just have to be open to listen to him," said Purinton, who visited Peat at a rehab centre on Vancouver Island when he was staying there in 2015. 

"I got his back and I just want to see him get well."

Riley Cote, a former Philadelphia Flyer between 2006 and 2010, and, has also reached out to Stephen and Walter Peat in the hopes of helping. 

"He's not alone and there's a huge group of people who would love to offer him support. There's hope for everyone," Cote said. 

James McEwan, who fought 200 times in his hockey career, also believes Peat can get back on the right track. 

"My message to him is that healing is possible and no matter how tough things are right now, it is possible to bounce back and to come out of this," McEwan said. 

"He can heal and become balanced and strong again."

NHL fans know all too well the tale of the NHL enforcer who goes down a dark road after too many injuries, and it's not so long ago that we lost beloved players like Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak

Hopefully, the story ends differently for Stephen.