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February 9, 2015                                                                                                                                               PRESS RELEASE

A mainstay phrase in the OHL: mental health matters

In response to the tragic suicide of Saginaw Spirit centre Terry Trafford in early 2014, the Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Mental Health Association launched their Talk Today partnership.  Talk Today is an initiative designed to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health concerns and seeking help, while also connecting players with the support and expertise they need to stay safe and mentally healthy.

Once the partnership was underway, players and OHL staff participated in training sessions designed to provide them with tips focusing on mental wellness, the warning signs and characteristics of mental illness for early detection, and when and how to seek help.

“Players face high demands preparing themselves to perform at this level,” said Kevin Hicks, CMHA Mental Health Coach for the Niagara IceDogs’ OHL team. “Talk Today aids in providing the ability for the players to be at their best both mentally and emotionally.”  He adds that “the knowledge and information given to these athletes will benefit them, their teammates, and will extend beyond the arena and dressing room to reach family, friends, and peers.”

Niagara IceDogs’ Manager of Game Day Operations, Nick Williams, agrees that this is a positive initiative for the OHL. “The Niagara IceDogs players, coaches, and trainers are proud to have taken part in the Talk Today mental health program.”

When asked about the benefits of the IceDogs partnering with CMHA Niagara, Nick replied that “the seminar was extremely informative and had a positive and profound effect on everyone in attendance, leaving everyone with a stronger understanding of mental health issues and the knowledge on how to help their teammates, peers, and others.”

To celebrate the Talk Today partnership in Niagara, the local Canadian Mental Health Association branch will be present at the February 12th Niagara IceDogs vs. Mississauga Steelheads hockey game.  CMHA Niagara will have a booth set up on the concourse level for anyone with questions, or requesting information about the various programs and services that are offered.  Other CMHA staff and supporters will be amongst the crowd enjoying a game of good old fashioned hockey, cheering on the IceDogs on their home ice!

For information about Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara, please visit:

For more information about the Niagara IceDogs, or Talk Today, please visit the OHL website: