A WHL game in Cranbrook Friday is about a lot more than what happens on the ice.
The Kootenay ICE will make a pregame presentation to the Kootenay Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Organization.
However, if Western Financial Place – which holds 4,654 with standing – sells out for the match versus the Tri-City Americans, the organization will donate an additional $25,000 to local mental health initiatives.
The team has not drawn a capacity crowd at its home arena since March 26, 2007 when 4665 were in attendance.
The last time they drew over the seating capacity of 4,256 was January 26, 2010, and they haven’t seen more than four thousand fans in the stands since 2013.
ICE President and General Manager Matt Cockell says they want to be an open and inviting organization that helps the community, and the money would be localized to help vulnerable individuals.
The club’s Governor Greg Fettes has previously talked about how mental health is a personal issue for him and his family.
This is why the club wants to be a leader in the region when it comes to this issue, which Cockell admits isn’t any issue one to address.
He suggests people who opened up about the challenges they faced used to be considered weak and, especially in sports, were expected to show a certain level of toughness.
However, Cockell insists they want to help remove that stigma and suggests sharing stories about mental health issues is a sign a strength as well as being there to support individuals who need it.
Friday’s game starts 7PM at Western Financial Place.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.icecountry.ca, at Western Financial Place or by calling 2510-417-0322.
– Kootenay ICE President & GM Matt Cockell