Instead of helping the Florida Panthers in their effort to win the Stanley Cup last postseason, goaltender Spencer Knight was at home in Connecticut seeking help for his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) diagnosis.
“I was spiralling in a direction I didn’t want to be going,” Knight told The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell in a recent interview.
Knight explained that issues began during his freshman season at Boston College in 2019, when the shared that — among other issues — he would habitually and uncontrollably wash his hands. Though the symptoms never really hurt his hockey career, going on to be drafted in the first round by the Panthers and winning a gold medal at the 2021 World Juniors, that began to change once he made the NHL.
During a game in Winnipeg, Knight outlined that didn’t feel too well. After being pulled, he was diagnosed with a case of the flu, though something beyond that was not right.
He explained further that he began to have obsessive thoughts of getting sick, and subsequently had trouble sleeping and couldn’t function because of it. Eventually, those issues led Knight to seek out professional help and enroll in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last February.
Knight spent his time working with an OCD expert and seeking more help on how to manage the disorder. Now, he says, having had the several months to learn more and get help, the 22-year-old is ready to really establish himself in the NHL.
“I can still be the player I want to be, and I still believe I can be one of the best goalies in this league,” Knight said. “Maybe it’s this year, maybe it’s next year, maybe it’s in three years or four years or five years. I don’t know. I know what I’m capable of accomplishing. It was there before and it has been there the whole time.”
In 57 career appearances, Knight boasts a .906 save percentage and a 2.91 goals against average. The 2019 First Round pick seems most likely be play a supporting role to Sergei Bobrovsky in between the pipes as the Panthers look to build upon their surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final.