OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators along with the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, 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 bring increased dialogue and awareness to 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 of 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 misconception and stigma that has been unfairly associated with mental illness. With the collaboration of the seven Canadian hockey clubs, the Hockey Talks message can have an extensive reach, connecting with citizens of all ages and backgrounds.
During the month of February, each Canadian team will raise mental health awareness through in-arena messaging and online storytelling, sharing information and experiences at one of their home games. The programming and dialogue brings the opportunity to provide information to fans in recognizing mental health issues and better understanding 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 Senators and Sens Foundation will host Hockey Talks on Saturday, Feb. 23, when they take on Toronto. For a third straight season, the organization will partner with Do It For Daron (D.I.F.D.) and look to inspire conversations and educate fans on the topic of youth mental health while raising funds in support of their $100,000 pledge commitment to the D.I.F.D. Fund at the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation for Mental Health.
Senators players will don Hockey Talks decals on their helmets the week leading up to the Hockey Talks game night to generate additional awareness. Fans will also be able to purchase Hockey Talks pins and commemorative pucks as well as a variety of D.I.F.D branded items, with all net proceeds supporting, the D.I.F.D. Fund, via the Sens Foundation. The Hockey Talks game night will also feature a ceremonial puck drop and throughout the game educational facts and resources will be shared with fans. Bell and Ferguslea Properties Ltd. are sponsors for the event.
HOCKEY TALKS GAME NIGHTS
HOME TEAM; VISITING TEAM; DATE
Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Feb. 23
Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings, Feb. 20
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild, Feb. 21
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins, Feb. 6
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins, Feb. 2
Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Feb. 1
Winnipeg Jets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Feb. 7
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS
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 per cent 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.
The Sens Foundation, a strategic partner of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, is led by a small team of fundraisers, event planners, and communications professionals, partnered with more than 2,500 community volunteers, who are passionately committed to raising funds that enable positive life changes for children in eastern Ontario and western Quebec in the areas of education, healthcare, sports and recreation. www.sensfoundation.com
DO IT FOR DARON (D.I.F.D.)
In Nov. 2010, Daron Richardson, a very talented and bright young lady tragically took her own life. Daron was the daughter of former Ottawa Senators assistant coach, now Binghamton Senators head coach, Luke Richardson. Created by friends and family of Daron Richardson, D.I.F.D. is a youth-driven initiative focused on raising awareness and inspiring conversations about youth mental health. D.I.F.D. supports programs and initiatives aimed at transforming youth mental health. www.difd.com
- end -