Hockey Talks was created as a month-long initiative to increase dialogue and awareness about mental health and effective treatment.  

This year, Hockey Talks spans from January 26 to February 29, 2016 and the Oilers will host their fourth annual in-game event on February 20 when the Oilers face off against the Colorado Avalanche.

Back by popular demand, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) will be selling limited-edition, signed Oilers hats on the concourse for $20 each. This in-game initiative will seek to encourage a national conversation about mental health and net proceeds will benefit the CASA Foundation Adolescent Day Program and the EOCF. The CASA Foundation is a major community-based provider of mental health services for infants, children, adolescents and their families within Edmonton and both Central and Northern Alberta.

According to mental health experts, on average, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; it indirectly affects all Canadians at some point through a family member, friend or colleague. Approximately 70 per cent of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community. Mental illnesses can be treated effectively. Identifying the signs early and getting connected to tools and support is the most important way to prevent problems from becoming worse.

The Oilers Hockey Talks event is part of a collective effort, with all of the Canadian NHL clubs dedicating one of their game nights from January 26 to February 29 to bring awareness to this topic in an attempt to alleviate misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with mental illness. In addition to the Oilers Hockey Talks in-game event on February 20, every home game throughout the month will feature a local mental health group to help build awareness, including the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Edmonton Branch, Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, I Run I Rock United by Trauma and Kids Help Phone. 

Fans and suppporters can join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #HockeyTalks.

*These statistics were compiled from information available through the following websites: Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Limited tickets remain, CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.