Donation helps Brock women’s hockey team access mental health resources

An anonymous donor, who is passionate about supporting female athletes, is providing a boost to the Brock women’s hockey team with a focus on mental health.

A sizeable financial donation was recently made to the Badgers with the stipulation that a portion of the funds are directed at supporting the mental health of its student-athletes.

“The donor felt that female athletes as a group are largely unrepresented and under supported,” said Sonia Dupte, Director, Development and Stewardship, Advancement and External Relations. “Athletes, regardless of gender, are facing challenges during this pandemic with their regular routine being interrupted and fewer or no games being played. Mental health and well-being of student-athletes is a priority at this time to ensure they remain well and thrive.”

Women’s hockey head coach Margot Page has made it her mission to create a health-promoting environment since joining the team in 2015. She is looking forward to increased support for the mental well-being of her student-athletes.

“Resources regarding mental health have evolved significantly over the past couple of years and it’s something we’ve always wanted to spotlight with our student-athletes,” said Page. “Hockey is the avenue for our female student-athletes to have access to tools like these which will help them in life, through their careers and empower them as women in their future.”

Fourth-year defenceman Kaitlyn Colonna, a Kinesiology student, said receiving a donation directed at improving mental health is a game-changer.

“Typically, money that our team receives goes towards funding athletic necessities such as equipment, food and travel, so this donation with the intention to help improve our mental health is very much appreciated,” said Colonna. “This type of donation transcends our status as student-athletes and strives to develop our whole person.”

Colonna added that student-athletes face a unique situation with the combination of school workload and team responsibilities.

“Our lifestyles are scheduled down to the minute,” said Colonna, who was recently named a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian. “In the few hours we spend away from school and sport we face both external and internal pressure to continuously better ourselves while managing physical, mental and emotional fatigue.”

Jensen Murphy (BSc ’19), who backstopped the Badgers for five seasons and recently joined the coaching staff as a goaltending coach, said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time with the extra difficulties created through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s heartwarming to know there are extra resources available for the team during these hard times,” said Murphy. “I don’t question for a second that I would have benefited from something like this in my first few years as a player. The team is a pretty close family and this donation will only help grow the trust and openness amongst its members.”

Colonna echoed Murphy’s thoughts.

“Our team atmosphere is very much family-like. We all deeply care for, love and respect one another,” she said. “Our coaches are always willing to listen and offer advice. Our coaches work towards developing us as much more than just athletes, but as responsible, confident and empowered young women, so this donation helps strengthen that.

“On behalf of our team, I would like to send a huge thank you to our donor. Your contribution is very much appreciated, and we are all so grateful. Thank you.”

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