When the minor midget ‘AAA’ Barrie Colts and the North Central Predators took to the ice recently, the game had a slightly different focus than the matches they typically play. Competing for the inaugural Start Talking Cup, the teams also played to help raise awareness for mental health. The game aimed to combat stigma associated with mental health issues, as well as acting as a fundraiser for CMHA Simcoe County.
“With the Ontario Hockey League partnering with the CMHA this season, we just thought we could take it another step further and get the top minor hockey teams in Simcoe County to create a game, where we can reach even more kids and even more schools,” Colts head coach John MacArthur told the Barrie Examiner. “With mental illness being one of the largest killers in teens, we know how important it is.”
Former NHLers, Jack Valiquette and Scott Thompson, along with Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood, dropped the puck at the game. More than 1,500 people attended the event.
While the minor midget Barrie Colts emerged as this year’s Start Talking Cup champions, ultimately the event’s success was a victory for the whole community.
“Every dollar raised from this event stays directly in our community,” Katherine Palumbo of CMHA Simcoe County told CTV News Barrie. “The donations from tonight are helping our neighbours, helping ourselves, and the people we work with every single day.”
For more on CMHA Simcoe County’s Start Talking campaign, visit their website.