Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Sports

Pain Killer

A Memoir of Big League Addiction

by (author) Brantt Myhres

foreword by Michael Landsberg

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Feb 2021
Sports, Personal Memoirs, Addiction
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


"This book is at times startling, yet very real and down to earth . . . I saw [Brantt] in all phases of his life and his career. I consider him a friend and an ally. Pain Killer sends a strong message." --Darryl Sutter, former NHL player, coach, and GM
From the only player to be banned for life from the NHL, a harrowing tale of addiction, and an astonishing path to recovery.

Brantt Myhres wasn't around for the birth of his daughter. Myhres had played for seven different NHL teams, and had made millions. But he'd been suspended four times, all for drug use, and he had partied his way out of the league. By the time his daughter was born, he was penniless, sleeping on a friend's couch. He'd just been released from police custody. He had a choice between sticking around for the birth, or showing up for league-mandated rehab. He went to rehab. For the fifth time.

This is his story, in his own words, of how he fought his way out of minor hockey into the big league, but never left behind the ghosts of a bleak and troubled childhood. He tells the story of discovering booze as a way of handling the anxiety of fighting, and of the thrill of cocaine. In the raw language of the locker room, he tells of how substance abuse poisoned the love he had in his life and sabotaged a great career. Full of stories of week-long benders, stripper-filled hot tubs, motorcycle crashes, and barroom brawls, Pain Killer is at its most powerful when Myhres acknowledges how he let himself down, and betrayed those who trusted him. Again and again, he fools the executives and doctors who gave him a second chance, then a third, then a fourth, and with each betrayal, he spirals further downward.

But finally, on the eve of his daughter's birth, when all the money was gone, every bridge burnt, and every opportunity squandered, he was given a last chance. And this time, it worked.

It worked so well, that not only has he been around for his daughter for the past eleven years, in 2015 he was signed by the LA Kings as a "sober coach": a guy who'd been there, a guy who could recognize and help solve problems before they ruined lives and made headlines (as the Kings had seen happen three times that season). Not only did Myhres save himself, he saved others.

Unpolished, unpretentious, and unflinching, Myhres tells it like it is, acknowledging every mistake, and painting a portrait of an angry, violent, dangerous man caught in the vice of something he couldn't control, and didn't understand. If Brantt Myhres can pull himself together, anyone can. And he does, convincingly, and inspiringly.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

BRANTT MYHRES played for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals, and Boston Bruins. He was suspended four times by the NHL for failing drug tests and was eventually banned from the league for life. After becoming clean and sober and studying substance abuse behavioral health at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Myhres was hired by the Los Angeles Kings in September 2015 as the team's player assistance director.

Editorial Reviews


“This book is at times startling, yet very real and down to earth. As troubled as Brantt was, he was still a great teammate and a player I enjoyed being with. I worked with him in San Jose, Calgary and LA, so I saw him in all phases of his life and his career. I consider him a friend and an ally. Pain Killer sends a strong message.”
—Darryl Sutter, former NHL player, coach, and GM

“A devastatingly honest account of one man’s struggle with seemingly insurmountable demons. Through a combination of raw talent and hard work, Brantt Myhres finally realizes every Canadian boy’s dream of playing in the NHL only to throw it all away at the mercy of drugs and booze. An enforcer throughout his career, it’s his battle with addiction that proves him to be the ultimate tough guy. Pain Killer is a knockout.”
—Will Arnett, actor

“I met Brantt when he was working with the LA Kings Organization and he was open about his story from day one. In LA, he was a mentor for the players that found themselves going down a dark path, similar to what he had gone through. It speaks volumes about someone’s character when they can hit rock bottom, pick themselves up, and then help others up: that’s Brantt. This book makes his story accessible to everyone, not just players. I’m grateful for his courage to share and hopeful that it will help many others inside and outside of the hockey world.”
—Paul “Biz Nasty” Bissonnette, broadcaster and former NHL player
“Brantt Myhres treats writing the same way he approached hockey. He is all-in, pulling no punches.”
—The Athletic
Pain Killer is far from an easy read, and it’s as much gut-wrenching as it is oddly inspiring. While fighting is far less common in the NHL these days than Myhres’ era, it’s quite the reminder of the very real turmoil many professional athletes may be dealing with behind the scenes.”
—Anishinabek News
“Banned for life from the NHL, the enforcer comes cleanin every sense. . . . Brantt Myhres has been sober for thirteen years now. He's truthful, he's humble, and he's trying his hardest to be a good father. He has concussion-related brain issues, but they're not clouding his hard-earned belief that hope and love are the only things that really matter in life.”
—David Giddens, CBC  
Pain Killer is not your typical hockey autobiography; there are no championships or heroic on-ice moments. It is a rare glimpse into the dark side of professional hockey that concludes with a somewhat happy ending—certainly happier than one might expect.”
— Winnipeg Free Press