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FLAMES HOST HOCKEY TALKS NIGHT

Over $52,000 has been raised by the Calgary Flames Foundation for this initiative since 2014

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

Hockey Talks.

The Flames do, too. 

The team will host their fifth annual Hockey Talks game Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers in support of Canadian mental health awareness.

"We're in a position where we can create awareness and make people aware of a lot of things that are going on in this world and mental awareness is a big one we're talking about now," forward Matt Stajan said. "With us being in the position we're in we should make sure that we're doing our part to create awareness for everybody and I think we're doing a good job of that and we've got to continue to do so."

Hockey Talks is part of a collective effort with all seven Canadian NHL teams dedicating one game to help bring awareness to the issue in an attempt to alleviate the misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with mental illness.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime, directly affecting or indirectly affecting all Canadians through a family member, friend or colleague.

"It's all about being kind to others," rookie Matthew Tkachuk said. "You never know who's struggling with it or you never know if somebody's having an issue or if they have strong mental health. It's so important just to be nice to others and if somebody does have a problem and they don't want to share, help them out and try to get them help. That's a lot of people.

"If we can get that recognized and get more people help the world would be a better place."

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.

"There are so many things to go into it, like depression and anxiety and bullying," defenceman Dougie Hamilton said. "I think it's important for us to be good people and show other people that you can get through things and persevere and we as well as other people are there for you to talk to if you need help.

"I think with our platform it's important for us to be good role models and show that you can get through things and persevere and battle."

Awareness will be raised.

So too will funds.

Portions of the 50/50 proceeds from the game against the Flyers will go to support the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Calgary. Hockey Talks apparel, including hats and t-shirts will be available at all Flames FanAttic locations with a portion of the proceeds being directed to CMHA - Calgary. Volunteers will also be selling pucks on the main concourse, with a third of them being autographed by players.

Last season, the Calgary Flames Foundation donated $17,000 to the CMHA - Calgary from funds raised from Hockey Talks.

Over $52,000 has been raised by the Calgary Flames Foundation for this initiative since 2014.

"I think everybody in here deals with injuries, deals with mental health and we all seek help in different ways," goaltender Chad Johnson said. "We're all different as human beings, but we all deal with the same issues.

'I think the key is knowing that there's always help there in regards to anything … injuries, mental health. There's help there and we all deal with it. You should feel comfortable seeking help.

"For us here we're always encouraged to seek help in any way that we can to get better."

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