By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) The hockey community is better than many assume at talking about important things, and now is a time when it can.

Steve Montador’s death at age 35 is assumed to be linked to the depression that plagued him after he suffered a serious concussion in the 2011-12 season that essentially ended his career. He was found dead in his home in suburban Toronto, and officials there cited “natural causes” and “no criminality.”

Most suspect suicide, which would add his name to a grim, growing list of former NHLers to take their lives after retirement. The difference here is that Montador was not like Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien or Wade Belak: not a fighter by nature, and not noted for multiple head injuries. If this is the case, there is more frank discussion to be had about support for and communication with former players who may need help.

If he did not take his own life, there could be new and significant medical concerns about a single, serious traumatic event that call for further research.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Boers and Bernstein Show” in afternoon drive. Follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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