Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Mark Hardy talks of alcohol struggles
Former Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy, who resigned in June after being charged with fourth-degree sexual abuse in May, spoke candidly in a recent interview about the aftermath of the incident, touching on his struggles with alcohol, his rehabilitation and the support he's received from former teammates.
"It was the toughest situation I've ever gone through in my life," Hardy told 710 ESPN's Dave Joseph. "I made a two-second mistake and was arrested. I was in jail, I was laying there on a steel slab that they call a bed and I was going 'What the heck has happened?'"
Hardy was arrested in May in Washington, D.C., after a woman said he fondled her in a hotel room after a night of heavy drinking.
"It was just the worst day of my life. ... [I] thank God for having such a strong family," Hardy said. "My family and I are all back together and we have done a lot of healing together."
Hardy acknowledged that he'd struggled with alcohol for much of his adult life.
"I've been drinking since I was 15 years old and it was just part of my life," he said. "I thought that's what everybody did. I was a functioning alcoholic. Sometimes this disease gets you quickly and sometimes it gets you slowly."
Hardy said he completed a rehab program with the NHL's assistance and has been sober for 10 months.
"The NHL Substance Abuse Program called me right away and thought that I should check into alcohol and substance abuse rehab so I went and did that," Hardy said. "After that they suggested that I start going to AA meetings, which I have been doing consistently for the last 10 months. It's a tough situation to go through but I'm happy to say that for the last 10 months I have not had a drink. I feel great. I am blessed by God that my wife and my family have been so strong through this."
The 51-year-old Hardy had spent 21 years with the Kings as a player and a coach. After seven seasons in the Chicago Blackhawks' organization, he returned to Los Angeles in August 2008 to join Terry Murray's staff.
He expressed gratitude for the support of former teammates, and was hopeful that he'd eventually get another shot at coaching.
"The support that I've had from Luc Robitaille, Marty McSorley and Jimmy Fox has been second-to-none. They've opened up their arms," Hardy said. "It's been a tough situation. I've lost the coaching part of it. I had to resign my position. I've lost one part of my love and I'm hoping somehow I can get a chance to get back in the NHL. It would be a dream of mine."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.