Women's & Men's Teams Take to the Ice to Support Mental Health
On Saturday, January 21st, the University of New Hampshire’s men’s and women’s hockey teams will both hit the rink to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention, in what has become an annual tradition: a Stick it to Stigma™ game cohosted by local nonprofit organizations Connor’s Climb Foundation and The Benny Fund. The women will play first at 2:00 PM, taking on Boston University, while the men take to the ice at 7:00 PM against UMass Lowell. Both games will be held at the Whittemore Center on the UNH Durham campus.
The excitement for these games is almost palpable, says Connor’s Climb Foundation Marketing & Events Manager Amanda Fontaine. “Events like these that bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention are so important, especially for youth and young adults and especially for athletes,” she says. “We are thrilled to rekindle our collaboration with The Benny Fund to rally the players, their families, and the local community around this timely topic.”
The players share Fontaine’s enthusiasm: says Emily Rickwood, UNH women’s team defender, “playing in this game provides me a chance to show my support to anyone dealing with mental health issues and remind them that reaching out for help demonstrates strength, not weakness.”
Her teammate, forward Kira Juodikis, echoes the need for support, noting that “awareness is key to making changes, and this game brings attention to the issue of mental illness. I’m honored to be a part of something that supports mental health, as well as show others that they’re not alone.”
Forward Gabby Jones sums it up nicely: “[We are] playing the game we love for a bigger cause.”
This year’s double-header will feature raffles, photo ops, informational tables from partner organizations, and local youth hockey team matches between game periods. Summarizes Holly Neiweem, founder of The Benny Fund: “Stick it to Stigma continues to be an amazing way to promote mental health in our community and with our athletes. We’re incredibly grateful to the UNH Wildcats, and particularly the Women’s Ice Hockey team, for spearheading this important event.”