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Pressure of sports can lead to mental health challenges


Coming on the heels of Bell Let’s Talk events, this week’s Rastall OHL file takes a deep dive into mental health in the league.

It often gets lost on spectators that the young men who make up the league are just that, young men. And with the complexities of being a normal teenager, throwing in the added pressures of competitive hockey, mental health can sometimes take a hit.

“Pressure of performance, pressure not to fail and then when you add on top of it some professional aspects, like these are still young men,” said Sudbury Wolves assistant coach, Gary Ricciardi.

“The conversation about mental health stretches beyond the coaching and administrative staff in the league. Players say it’s important to use their platform to have a voice for those who might not have the ability to speak up about their well-being.”

“You don’t always see mental health like an injury,” said Wolves forward Evan Condon.

“You don’t always see it, but people are suffering so it’s something important and something I look out for in my teammates and other people.”

North Bay Battalion forward Dalyn Wakely said it’s important to reach out to someone who might need to talk to someone.

“I think it’s important for anybody, whether it’s a hockey player or somebody going through school, you know, anybody, make sure you’re sharing how you’re feeling,” Wakely said.

Ricciardi said the league takes mental health very seriously.

“As an organization, and as role models within the community, we should advocate for others and we should always be willing to have these hard conversations,” he said.

Beyond conversations, Ricciardi said the organization hosts regular seminars and meetings to check in on the team, in addition to an app and phone number players can call anytime. Top Stories

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