I’m joining up with #hockeyfightsDV, a fan-run effort to raise both funds and awareness to combat domestic violence and support survivors of violence. Violence against women has been on the forefront of the NHL for quite a while, with high-profile arrests of Semyon Varlamov and Sasha Voynov in the last year. There are a myriad of other troubling incidents with regards to sexism and violence against women present in hockey: from Harry Zolnierczyk to the OHL players sending harassing and threatening messages to women on tinder. It’s important to talk about these incidents and issues, and it’s also important to support organizations that are helping and protecting survivors of violence.
To that end, I will be donating $1 to the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group (MWAG) every time Erik Karlsson or Phil Kessel scores. Erik Karlsson is my favourite player and is a great role model in the NHL for leadership, shots from the point (I’m incorrigible), and charity. He does a lot of work with animal shelters and is an outspoken advocate for mental health, self-care, and “[being] nice to yourself.” Phil Kessel is another of my favourite players, and is also a big charity guy – a cancer survivor himself, he sponsors a box for children fighting cancer at ever Leafs home game.
MWAG operates two 24-hour crisis shelters for abused women and their children in Ontario – Muskoka Interval House in Bracebridge and Chrysalis in Huntsville, which also offer supportive transitional housing units for vulnerable women. Their website also has important information for women in trouble, and provides tips on how to cover your tracks online and prevent your abuser from knowing you are seeking help.
I will also be donating 50 cents to a similar group in Ottawa for every point that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn score together. (They’ve got an attached-at-the-hip-and-wear-each-others’-gloves thing going on. I don’t know what it is but I like it.) I’m still doing some research on the best places to donate – I’m looking into the trans-inclusive policies of a few organizations, and would like to support somewhere that works with new immigrants and First Nations women. I’ve got a few in mind, but let me know if you have any suggestions!
My current budget for additional charity is small, but I’m hoping to get a bunch of friends on board as well. Just pick a stat, pick a reputable organization doing good work, tally at the end of the month, and encourage others to do the same.
This is a great initiative – it was started by Alexandra Edwards and is, according to the official tumblr, “modelled after LA Kings captain Dustin Brown’s own fundraising efforts.” I encourage you all to make your own pledge, however big or small. You can make it fun if you want – $2 for every Bobrovsky-Foligno hug, $50 for every John Scott goal (…maybe pick something else, on second thought), $1 every time PK Subban does something that makes you need a moment to calm down, $5 every time the Leafs or Oilers outshoot the other team, $10 every time Jo Drouin and Nate MacKinnon score in the same week – anything you want!