Hockey Night in Canada

Predators' Austin Watson says alcohol relapse led to arrest last year

Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson says the arrest last year that led to his 18-game suspension came when he started drinking again after 23 months of sobriety.

Says he had been sober for 23 months prior to incident that led to 18-game suspension

Nashville forward Austin Watson has been reinstated by the NHL following a suspension for substance abuse. (Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson says the arrest last year that led to his 18-game suspension came when he started drinking again after 23 months of sobriety.

Watson said Friday in an Instagram post that he's been dealing with anxiety, depression and alcoholism since the age of 18. Watson said he entered the NHL's substance abuse program after his June 16 arrest and added that "I am currently sober and committed to living a healthy lifestyle so that I can be the father, partner, teammate and person I want to be."

Watson pleaded no contest July 24 to domestic assault and agreed to a judicial diversion program.

His girlfriend, Jenn Guardino, issued a statement in October taking blame for the incident and saying Watson would never hit or abuse her.

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