Leafs’ Mitch Marner opens up on armed carjacking: ‘It affects you mentally’
Mitch Marner’s support for mental health initiatives took on a more personal twist this offseason, as he had flashbacks of being the victim of a carjacking in May.
A chilling incident the Toronto Maple Leafs star calmly reflected on nearly two months later as he hosted his annual Marner Assist Fund charity event.
It was definitely a crazy day. Fortunately, none of us were injured. My fiancée (Stephanie LaChance) and I were doing just fine. So that’s all that matters in the end,” Marner said Thursday, kicking off his fundraiser.
“But it definitely affects you mentally. It certainly comes to mind for a few weeks. Just kind of knocks you back and forth driving a car or something. So we were lucky to have people around us that we could talk to and have these stories to tell and get feedback. So definitely mental health is something important to me and my family – and something we take really seriously.
Marner overwhelmed with support from friends, community
In May, Toronto police searched for three suspects armed with two handguns and a knife. The thieves took off in Marner’s black Range Rover outside the Queensway Cinema, a short drive from the Maple Leafs practice facility in Etobicoke.
Inspector Rich Harris told reporters at the time that Toronto police witnessed 60 carjackings already in the city this year, compared to 59 in 2021.
« These are almost all sold for profit, » Harris said, adding that police have made 20 carjacking arrests this year.
Marner’s teammate Jake Muzzin said seeing his friend endure such fear underscores the importance of checking in with loved ones.
“It’s definitely something everyone is talking about – a little more aware of it. And I think a lot of guys, like Mitchy here tonight, are taking action on that,” Muzzin said.
« Obviously you don’t want to see your friend or anybody go through anything like that. But, I mean, that’s the world we live in, and things like that happen. So having resources and being able to talk about unexpected or unfortunate situations like that, it’s easier to come out of it on the other side. And the Leafs are doing a good job of providing that to us, and it’s a little easier to have someone to talk to.
Marner said the outpouring of support descended on him and LaChance once the carjacking became public knowledge.
“A lot of great friends, a lot of great family, a lot of connections that I still play hockey with and friends back home,” Marner explained. “We have had a lot of people contacting us about this situation and a lot of people have been helping us.
« The love and support that we received from my friends’ family, his friends, his family and just the fans, in general, was amazing. And we’re pretty lucky and grateful for that.
An incident impacted the Maple Leafs season
Today, Marner thinks it was « surreal » that he was held at gunpoint to abandon his vehicle.
“I don’t think fear hits you before. Just the adrenaline rush comes through so strong that I think at that point you’re just ready to do whatever the person asks. And they wanted the car keys, and that was something that I was willing to give up (with) what was going on at the time and what was being directed at me,” Marner said.
« So at that point, just give them the car keys, get up, walk away from the vehicle and try to find the nearest person, try to call 911 and try to resolve the conflict. »
The incident had a significant impact on the Maple Leafs’ hall, as Marner is seen as a popular and carefree source of positivity.
« It was scary. Hard to believe something like this happened. I think it puts things in perspective sometimes, » said captain and friend John Tavares.
« I’m really glad he’s okay and doing well. He’s a great friend of mine. He has as much energy as I can still remember. He does it every day. So he’s came out pretty well.