(Edmonton, AB) – The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens announced today the kick-off tonight of Ben’s Netminders – a community program where Ben Scrivens will sponsor 10 tickets for 10 games throughout the 2014-15 season for deserving youth –as the Oilers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rexall Place.
“They’re everyday people. They’re just like you and me. Mental health issues affect everyone and at equal rates and there isn’t one group that’s hurt more or less by these mental health disorders,” said Ben Scrivens. “Being able to work with mental health groups here in Edmonton has shown me that it’s your neighbour, it’s your friend, it’s your brother, it’s people you see all the time. You never really know what people are going through and you might think they’re dealing well, but we have to make our society a comfortable place where people can really talk about the help they need.”
Recipients will include registered charities throughout Northern Alberta that are reflective of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s (EOCF) mandate of youth education and youth health and wellness, specifically in the mental health field. Ben will be hosting youth aged six to 18 who are living with and are affected by mental health illness from the CASA Foundation, Schizophrenia Society of Alberta-Edmonton, Canadian Mental Health Association’s youth program, Challenge by Choice and the Support Network.
“CASA exists so that children and families do not have to face the difficulties of mental illness alone. Through a family-centered approach, we ensure that all children will thrive and meet their full potential,” said Denise Milne, CEO, CASA & CASA Foundation. “The opportunity for CASA kids to participate in Ben’s Netminders at an Oilers game is a fantastic way to treat our children to an inspiring and confidence-building experience as we work towards building healthier minds, forging stronger family networks and encouraging thriving communities.”
Not only will Ben’s guests enjoy live Oilers hockey at Rexall Place, but the back-stopper will also meet them pre-game for photo opportunities and autographs. The group will also enjoy dinner at the rink courtesy of Dominion Sport Service.
“Ben’s advocacy for mental health awareness this year is an important initiative for the Foundation. He’s been extremely passionate about this cause and has been working closely with mental health groups to make sure this program is done right,” said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director, EOCF. “Along with Ben’s leadership, the Oilers Foundation is committed to raising mental health awareness and our hope is that this is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation to reduce stigma.”
In addition to Ben’s Netminders, Scrivens is also working with four different mental health groups to design four different masks that he will don throughout the season. At the end of the year, the masks will be auctioned off to support mental health awareness. Scrivens will debut his first mask in-game tonight, designed with Richard Boulet, an artist living with schizophrenia.