Panthers' Micheal Haley enters NHL/NHLPA player assistance program

The NHL and NHL Players Association issued a joint statement Friday saying Panthers forward Micheal Haley “would be away from the team while taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.”

There will be no further comment, the joint statement concluded.

“Micheal is a valued part of our team and Panthers family,” Panthers president of hockey operations and GM Dale Tallon said in a statement shortly after the NHL/NHLPA annoucement. “He has our full support as he takes the time he needs to tend to this matter.”

Haley, an eight-year veteran in his second season with the Panthers, missed practice Monday for an undisclosed reason and was taken off the roster the same day, The Athletic reported, adding that Haley had been away from the team since last week but is expected to return in the future.

On Monday, coach Bob Boughner wouldn’t give a reason for Haley’s absence, only saying he would explain in a couple of days.

Haley, 32, suffered a a groin injury at the end of preseason and missed last Thursday’s practice because of illness.

In 75 games last season, the bruising forward had three goals and six assists while racking up 212 penalty minutes. In 205 career games with four teams, Haley has eight goals and 17 assists with 562 penalty minutes.

According to the union’s website, the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program was jointly formed in 1996 and is funded by the league and the players’ union “to assist players and their families in the treatment of health problems, including substance abuse.”