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Hockey Talks: Building mental health awareness

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver, B.C. - The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, with the support of the National Hockey League, are proud to announce Hockey Talks, a month-long initiative to increase dialogue and awareness about mental health and effective treatments. A game night in each respective city will be dedicated to Hockey Talks where each team will lend their voice to help encourage a national conversation about mental health and wellness.

The seven Canadian NHL teams recognize the importance of education and open dialogue on mental health and wellness at a national level. The goal of Hockey Talks is to bring this topic to the forefront in the public realm and alleviate misconceptions and stigma that has been unfairly associated with mental illness. With the collaboration of the seven Canadian hockey clubs, this message can have an extensive reach, connecting with citizens of all ages and backgrounds.

During the month of February, each Canadian team will raise awareness about mental health through in-arena messaging and online storytelling, sharing information and experiences at one of their home games. The programming and dialogue will provide information and an opportunity for fans to recognize mental health issues and better understand the challenges associated with mental illness and to connect those in need of support with mental health organizations. Fans are encouraged to join the conversation by sharing personal experiences or messages of support via social media with the hashtag #hockeytalks.

The Vancouver Canucks will host Hockey Talks on February 1, 2013 as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. During the game, members of the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre Youth Ambassadors Program will enjoy the game from Lui’s Crease Club while representatives from Kelty and will be stationed at community corner in section 111 to distribute resources to fans. The Youth Ambassadors are comprised of youth with lived experience with mental health concerns engaged in reaching out to BC schools to help with mental health initiatives and teach BC school students how to access and other resources. Canucks players will don a Hockey Talks decal on their helmets for the entire month of February in support of this initiative. The Hockey Talks game night will also feature a ceremonial puck drop with Wes Rypien, brother of former Canuck Rick Rypien.



Calgary Flames Los Angeles Kings Feb. 20, 2013

Edmonton Oilers Minnesota Wild Feb. 21, 2013

Montreal Canadiens Boston Bruins Feb. 6, 2013

Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs Feb. 23, 2013

Toronto Maple Leafs Boston Bruins Feb. 2, 2013

Vancouver Canucks Chicago Blackhawks Feb. 1, 2013

Winnipeg Jets Toronto Maple Leafs Feb. 7, 2013


One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; it indirectly affects all Canadians at some point through a family member, friend or colleague. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.

Approximately 70% of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Identifying the signs early and getting connected to tools and support is the most important way to prevent problems from becoming worse. Mental health problems and illnesses can be treated effectively.

MINDCHECK.CA features the personal accounts of Kevin Bieksa, interactive quizzes and information, and connections to resources and local services. To broaden the reach and increase public awareness and support for mental health issues, BC residents had the opportunity to add their video to the “In One Voice” campaign within the site by recording and uploading a pledge.

By enhancing mental health literacy this partnership has helped improve early recognition of mental health concerns, encourage the use of effective self‐care strategies, and facilitate navigation of mental health services in BC. was initially launched in spring 2010 as part of a Fraser Health early intervention pilot project for Youth and Young Adult Mental Health and Substance Use.

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