Guelph Storm graduating captain Garrett McFadden has been named the Ontario Hockey League's Humanitarian of the Year.
McFadden, a Kincardine native who played his entire five-year OHL career in Guelph, will receive the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy.
McFadden becomes the league’s first two-time award recipient winning for a second straight season with the continuation of his program ‘McFadden’s Movement’ in support of youth mental health awareness, said the OHL in a news release.
The initiative took new heights in 2017-18 with the introduction of an Ambassadors Program along with fundraising efforts that totaled $20,000 to local mental health resources.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be recognized as the Dan Snyder Humanitarian of the Year,” McFadden said in the release. “The OHL and every person involved in my junior hockey career have all played a huge role in allowing me to be the person I am today. Without the help and guidance of these people, being recognized for this award would not be possible."
The Storm captain introduced ‘McFadden’s Movement’ in September, 2016, as a campaign striving to change, help, and develop mental health among athletes.
Directly affected by the loss of a close family friend, Wes Cameron, to suicide in 2011, McFadden has drawn on his own challenges when connecting with youth. This season’s MM27 Ambassadors Program encouraged Storm teammates and elite athletes from across the province to open up and share their own stories about mental health. This inspired community youth to do the same with an online portal on the McFadden’s Movement website that accepts digitally submitted mental health stories.
Over 30 Ambassadors ranging from ages four to their mid-20’s opened up and shared personal experiences such as dealing with the emotions of changing schools, losing friends to suicide, long-term health disorders impacting their mental health, and facing mental health obstacles.