By Lethbridge Herald on January 26, 2024.
By Justin Seward
The Lethbridge Eagles of the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League are emphasizing the importance of taking care of your mental health during their third annual Mental Memorial Game today.
The game is in honour of former Eagle, Emily Middaugh, who committed suicide in February 2021.
“For me personally, I think it’s about bringing awareness to mental health and being willing to just open the conversation,” said third-year Eagle an co-captain Juliana Gulayets.
“Mental health can be very taboo and we need to yeah kind of combat the stigma around it and I really think that game has an impact.”
While she didn’t directly know Middagh, Gulayets knows many of the girls that were impacted by her.
The message among the players is that mental health is real.
“It’s not something that you have to battle alone,” said Gulayets.
“It’s not something that is just in your head or doesn’t exist. It’s like very real and it’s something we’re very aware of and supportive of. It’s not something that just gets brushed aside. I find that mental health is yeah often like ignored, especially when you play such a physical sport and you’re focusing so much on the physical body. And having this awareness with the Eagles, you come to the rink and it’s about building an all-around player and ensuring that we’re supporting the mind and body connection that’s through mental health as well as physical health.”
Gulayets said it’s exciting, when asked about the atmosphere surrounding this year’s game.
“So bringing awareness into it and adding on to the excitement of female hockey, I would say overall it is an exciting weekend for us because we have created change in mental health in Lethbridge and that’s the No. 1 goal at the end of the day,” said Gulayets.
There is an ongoing 50/50 raffle box that ends today at https://www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/lethbridge-eagles-female-jr?fbclid=IwAR0RdoyXZpguIgnsSIA9TPa28LvsKI6NTEZoS1UKDeJRnvofIyq3Mvb8SWk with proceeds going to mental health initiatives.
Monetary proceeds will go to Youth One and Companion Paws and the remaining funds will go in the Eagles Mental Health Fund.
A Youth One member who has been impacted by mental health will be doing the ceremonial puck drop and a U9 Cyclones team will be playing a scrimmage at an intermission.
There will be a silent auction, a cash 50/50 and cash donations can be made at the game.
The Eagles will be taking on the Cochrane Chaos in the Mental Memorial Game at 4:15 p.m. today at Nicholas Sheran Arena.