Victoria Minor Hockey Association is proud to be a part of Buddy Check for Jesse again for the 2020-2021 season to create awareness for mental health.
Buddy Check for Jesse was created by Dr. Stu Gershman, a VMHA parent, who tragically lost his son Jesse to suicide on October 29, 2014.
The Buddy Check for Jesse program was developed for hockey coaches to deliver a message to their teams. It began with Jesse’s dad, Stu Gershman, wanting to help his other two boys feel supported by their teammates, take action to create awareness of mental health challenges, and to be aware that a “team” can be more than just a group on the ice. Stu believes that coaches are in a unique position to share this positive message to help raise awareness that mental health issues can affect anyone. The goal of Buddy Check for Jesse is to destigmatize mental health challenges and to empower and encourage youth and young adults to support a teammate, friend or family member who is struggling. Helping our youth realize that mental health challenges are often invisible, should never be judged, and that kindness and compassion are extremely helpful is a valuable message to receive at their age.
Jesse’s family hopes that through creating this program in Jesse’s honour, it will help other youth and families.
Obviously this season is different. However, the message doesn’t change and it is important to keep in mind that many of our players are struggling a little more during this pandemic.
Each team will be receiving green tape, wristbands, and buddy check cards from their coach. Coaches will be chatting with their teams to share the Buddy Check for Jesse message. We are aiming to have our Admirals team staff deliver the message and players tape their sticks green (the colour of mental health) for the weekend of November 7 and 8 to coincide with the start of our cohort games. We are leaving it up to our coaches and teams to select a practice, game or team event that makes sense for them, recognizing that it is not always an option to have a dressing room talk right now. We also recognize that our coaches are not health professionals; however they are community leaders and role models for our players.
Tape your sticks green (the color of mental health) and post pictures on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #BuddyCheckforJesse and #BuddyCheckBC and/or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in additional clothing items please visit the website (buddycheckforjesse.com). We’ve found that some parents like to sponsor their team and purchase t-shirts for each player, but we leave that for the teams to decide. CLICK HERE to see what we have available for team package options.
Please go to our updated website (buddycheckforjesse.com) for more information and to read about our expansion to a multi-sport approach.
Thank you for your support of the players.
VMHA and the BCFJ team