While many players from the 11 Elite Ice Hockey League clubs have been taking part in the annual Movember campaign, there have also been some from our twelfth team as well – the officials!
But as many of people will already be aware, while this annual tradition is all about having fun with friends and team mates, there is a very serious purpose behind the facial fuzziness. Since 2003 Movember has sought to raise awareness and funds for a range of conditions affecting men around the world. Causes such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health are all the focus for the Movember Foundation.
The idea that men don’t seek support on early enough and instead try to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’ about things is one of the crucial facts Movember is seeking to change and this year. As they have done in previous years, some of our EIHL Officials have been joining in the cause, raising money and awareness for Movember.
“For me, the most important part of Movember at the moment is raising awareness for men’s mental health, and encouraging them to speak up,” said Referee Matt Rose. “Both inside and outside of hockey, my colleagues, friends and myself have all been through things we don’t discuss enough with those close to us or look for support.”
Globally, a man dies from suicide every single minute of every single day and that is something that must be addressed – the EIHL officials and players around the league encourage everyone who is feeling depressed to reach out to someone.
“Our wonderful sport of hockey, being as physically demanding as it, unfortunately coincides with the risk of injury. There has always been an emphasis on treating physical health, but it is now time to change our culture to address mental health” added referee Blake Copeland.
While 75% of all suicides in the UK are men, less than 40% of all talking therapy referrals to the NHS are for men. Therefore there are a lot of men out there who are not opening up.
Tom Darnell, pictured above, concluded: ““I guess it’s a man thing, we bottle things up, don’t seek support or a place to vent our feelings. But it goes both ways, it’s important that we check in on our friends, look out for signs that things might not be right and generally be kind to each other, there’s a lot we can do to support those around us.”
This year fundraising is taking a slightly different approach with Referee Tom Darnell running an auction on behalf of all the EIHL Officials, with four game worn jerseys, including last season’s #9 jersey, going to the highest bidder. The auctions close this Sunday evening (2 December). You can view the items and bid here.
For more information out about the amazing work the Movember Foundation do, click here.