Lakers Break the Ice on Mental Health event raises $17,500

North Bay, ON – Lakers Break the Ice on Mental Health, an annual fundraiser led by Nipissing University’s Sport Marketing class, raised $17,500 for the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) Foundation and Nipissing University’s outreach program, NU Listens. The fundraiser utilized sport and community spirit to raise awareness for mental health while encouraging needed conversations. The main event, featured the Lakers varsity hockey teams and drew almost 1000 fans to enjoy exciting hockey and support students’ fundraising efforts. 

Lakers Break the Ice on Mental Health

After a two-year COVID hiatus, this year’s event introduced some new elements including a pre-event mental health talk featuring former elite hockey player and mental health advocate Brady Leavold and Dr. Rob Graham. The “Courageous Conversations and Mandate to be Great” presentation attracted many students and community members for an impactful evening focusing on addiction and mental health.  

Dr. Denyse Lafrance Horning, the instructor of the Sport Marketing course, noted the importance of this talk:  

“Our past events have been very successful at raising needed funds to support mental health programs. We did that again this year and in fact, we more than doubled the funds raised from past events. But perhaps a greater win in our mandate to raise awareness for mental health was the introduction of a speaker series that focused entirely on sharing stories of addiction, mental health and resiliency in overcoming such challenges. Attendance exceeded our expectations and the conversations that took place during this evening were very powerful.” 

Throughout the term, the Sport Marketing class welcomed various guest speakers to discuss the need around mental health. Students learned that mental health affects everyone – especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2022, NBRHC had 416 outpatients visit the centre for mental health services. Meanwhile, NU Listens reports that the most common reasons students request counselling are stress, anxiety, and depression. The funds raised through Break the Ice on Mental Health will support these organizations’ commitment to delivering mental health services.   

Tammy Morison, President and CEO, NBRHC Foundation, shared her gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the students in hosting this successful fundraiser: “I am impressed and humbled by the dedication of the students in planning, preparing and executing Break the Ice on Mental Health. It is inspiring, especially for our patients, to feel the support of our community. These students are having an impact on our programs and creating awareness to break down the stigma surrounding mental health,” Morison said.  

Break the Ice on Mental Health was integrated into the Sport Marketing course curriculum to provide students experiential learning opportunities. The event enables students to learn through action while having a positive impact on their community.  

Andrew Machan, one of the Sport Marketing students organizing the event, comments, “I’m so proud to be part of such a successful and worthy fundraiser. The group of students and our sponsors made this a very memorable event. We are fortunate to have a professor like Denyse to lead students in these unique learning opportunities”.  

Break the Ice on Mental Health would like to recognize its sponsors: TD Bank, the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU), Bell Let’s Talk, Stockfish Ford, Tuggy’s Gas, and Caisse Alliance. Additionally, they would like to thank everyone who contributed to the event’s success through sponsorships, donations, and active participation. Together we are making an important difference. 



Carly Johnston 
Communications Officer 
Nipissing University 
705-474-3450 ext. 4035