Season 4 Episode 16 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; David Let’s Talk. This week, Tim Braun, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by former Husky David Johnstone for this year’s mental health episode. With #BellLetsTalk Day coming up, the guys discussed David’s struggles in hockey from Juniors through Michigan Tech, and how he worked through those struggles. After David left the show, the guys discussed the Desert Hockey Classic and the state of the Michigan Tech within the NCAA.
David started by talking a little about how his story has come to the surface in recent months. He talked about initially being uncomfortable discussing his situation, but also mentioned that lots of people have come forward and reached out to him since the story resurfaced. David talked about his rehabilitation process and how he has to go to the doctors every two weeks to monitor his process.
The conversation then pivoted to David’s backstory and how he came to arrive at Michigan Tech. David talked about his stepdad being a very important part of his life and how he was better at baseball than hockey in high school. David discussed hockey becoming a “job” more than being “fun” once he was drafted by the Green Bay Gamblers. He talked about the stress of committing to Michigan State and being the hometown kid who was expected to be a high performer. David talked about playing for both John Cooper and Jeff Blashill in juniors and he told the story of how he decommitted from Michigan State and committed to Michigan Tech a week later. The guys discussed how tough it can be to move away from home to play hockey as a teenager.
David spoke about his time at Tech and always playing hurt. He talked about becoming addicted to Adderall as well as chewing a can a day of chewing tobacco. Tim asked if anyone else on the team knew about David’s problems, and David discussed distancing himself and remaining quiet in order to keep a more professional setting in the locker room and not bring the team down. David also talked about scheduling classes with the specific goal of not going to the hockey rink.
Matt asked David if he felt that the drug use and pressures and systems were all tied together. David responded that for him, it was more about struggling to balance school and hockey. Because of his mental health struggles, it became much easier to focus on only one thing which ended up being hockey. He talked about having to take more drugs to perform better at hockey, but having to tone it down for in the classroom. Rob asked David to compare current concussion protocols to those in place during his playing time, and David thought that all of the protocols were fine during his playing days. David discussed how bad some of his concussions were.
David also talked about taking ownership of his mental health and some of the help he is receiving. He talked about the difference between Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder. Tim asked what colleges could do to help their athletes feel more comfortable talking about mental health. David said that every team should have a psychologist who is in every meeting so they know what’s going on.
Desert Hockey Classic
Tim didn’t get to watch anything but the highlights of the tournament due to being sick. Rob thought that Tech played good shut down hockey on Friday and Tim and Matt both expressed excitement that the Huskies showed up ready to play after extended time off. The guys discussed Blake Pietila making some big saves in the tournament. Rob thought Tech played a good first period in Saturday’s game against Boston University (BU) followed by Tech being under siege for the rest of the game. The guys then discussed some of the stats from the weekend.
State of the Michigan Tech within the NCAA
Tim brought up Tech’s current Pairwise and KRACH rankings and the guys discussed their surprise at Tech’s season trajectory so far. They discussed the teams that Tech fans should be rooting for to do well in order for Tech to earn better Quality Win Bonuses. The guys discussed how Tech can flip some comparisons later in the season. Matt shared his thoughts that this year’s Tech team is average with the rest of the NCAA but pointed out that coaching has been a big factor in this season’s success. Tim talked about the season being magical and enjoying it.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 38 minutes long. Tim talked about talking to one of the Johnstone brothers while drunk at a bar. David talked about former head coach Mel Pearson using players as pawns to advance himself. David brought out a famous Joe-ism about defense and offense and Matt went on a tangent about his girlfriend’s friend going to high school with David. The guys discussed the Damar Hamlin injury and how well Dirk calls Tech’s games. There was a discussion on the poor camera work at the Desert Hockey Classic. Matt explained why the game against Boston University was cathartic to him. Tim provided some stats comparing the conferences to each other. Matt talked about the dream he had. The guys discussed flipping comparisons throughout the season and taking the Misfits to Tampa.
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Follow us on twitter at ChasingMacPod. You can submit questions through our email address, ChasingMac@techhockeyguide.com. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and review to help us reach more people, and tell your friends. Please check out Jonathan Zamaites’ series previews every Friday and Mike Anleitner’s Old Dog in Texas column every Wednesday and Zach Aufdemberge’s Analytics With Augie. Also, keep an eye out for new recruiting articles that Tim Braun writes occasionally. As always, special thanks to our patron saint Doc McResin for his generous donation to get this thing running, we hope you enjoy. Also, thanks to The Thank You Notes for all the bumpers in today’s episode. If you like what you hear, check them out at thethankyounotes.bandcamp.com.