The Coyotes and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona hosted 'Yotes Talk' night on Tuesday night at Gila River Arena, taking part in the "Hockey Talks" initiative supported by the National Hockey League in an effort to encourage conversation about mental health.
"Everyone is affected by mental illness in some way, whether individually or through a loved one," said Coyotes President & CEO Ahron Cohen. "The Coyotes were proud to partner with BCBSAZ to host Yotes Talk Night to help raise awareness about mental health and hopefully provide Arizonans with the tools they need to find the right help for them at the right time."
Prior the game, Pam Kehaly, President and CEO of BCBSAZ, collaborated with Cohen to send a heartfelt message encapsulating the meaning and significance of the night.
"Through our Coyotes Foundation, great partners like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and with your support, we have made incredible strides, but there's more to be done," Cohen added.
As the players entered the arena, they stopped to write inspiring messages of hope for those struggling with mental health issues.
The cause hits close to home for Jakob Chychrun , whose cousin, Daron, died by suicide at the age of 14. The Coyotes are proud supporters of the 'Do It For Daron' movement, which raises awareness and inspires conversations about suicide and youth mental health by promoting open dialogue around these issues to help prevent such tragedies from happening again.
"You just wish you saw signs or knew that she was struggling so she could have gotten the help she needed," Chychrun said of his cousin. "That's what our family has done after the tragedy, is to try to turn it into something positive. It's about letting people know that they're not alone, that there are other people going through the same things."
The Coyotes were again a part of a "Hockey Talks" night on Thursday when they played the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. They'll be a part of a third consecutive mental health awareness game on Saturday afternoon when the Edmonton Oilers host their "Hockey Talks" day at Rogers Place.
15 NHL teams in total are taking part in the initiative this year.