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'A very proud project': Ringette athletes hit the ice to fight mental health stigma

Ringette players hit the ice all day for mental health for the Ring it in for Mental Health charity tournament on  all day April 20, 2024. (Galen McDougall/CTV News Edmonton) Ringette players hit the ice all day for mental health for the Ring it in for Mental Health charity tournament on all day April 20, 2024. (Galen McDougall/CTV News Edmonton)
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Hundreds of athletes hit the ice Saturday to raise money for a new mental health initiative.

The third-annual Ring it on for Mental Health ringette tournament brought together 22 teams at the Rivière Qui Barre Arena to have fun and fight the stigma around mental health.

The charity tournament was founded by Morgan Weisgerber and Kamryn Toal after the death of their teammate Erin Lukas in 2021.

"She battled for a long time with depression, and unfortunately she lost," Weisgerber said. "So we wanted to put something on in memory of her, in honour of her, to remember her for who she was – a fun loving person."

Money raised through registration fees, a raffle and donations will go toward a new pilot program to provide mental health resources for ringette players across Alberta.

The group is hoping to raise $20,000 by the end of April.

This year, for the first time, the event featured a Friday banquet, where keynote speakers touched on topics including mental and physical wellness.

"All the support that we had year one was family and friends," Toal said. "But this year, it was like everyone who spoke at the banquet reached out to us."

"People heard about it and loved what we were doing," she continued. "It was never anticipated that it would get this big, so we're very happy with the progress that we've made, it's a very proud project for us."

Weisgerber said she struggles with her own mental health, and it's been wonderful to have the event grow and have so many more people sharing their stories.

"Everyone has mental health and the more we bring awareness to it, the better we're going to be as a society," she added.

The tournament runs until 9 p.m. Saturday night.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Galen McDougall 

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