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Avalanche D Girard cleared to practise with team

Samuel Girard Colorado Avalanche Samuel Girard - Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Samuel Girard has been cleared to resume practicing with the Colorado Avalanche after receiving care from the player assistance program.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced Friday that Girard has entered the follow-up care phase of the joint program. He has not yet been cleared to resume playing in games.

Girard last month cited anxiety and depression leading to alcohol abuse as the reason for entering the player assistance program. The 25-year-old defenseman previously was away from the team for personal reasons.

“I have made a proactive decision to take care of my mental health, and will be entering treatment for severe anxiety and depression that has gone untreated for too long and led to alcohol abuse,” Girard said Nov. 24 in a statement posted by his agency, CAA. “I want to express my gratitude to my wife, family, friends, the club, my teammates and the fans for their patience, understanding, and continued support.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar at the time said the team supported Girard and his decision to get help.

Girard, a native of Roberval, Quebec, is in his seventh full NHL season. He broke his sternum midway through Colorado’s Stanley Cup run in 2022.