Talking Cup starts on hold, but organizers hope for March miracles

The Start Talking Cup combines hockey with mental health awareness and traditionally features games for both boys and girls

The last time the puck fell at the Start Talking Cup, no one knew a one-off pandemic would cancel the next two years for the popular local hockey game that would also raise mental health awareness.

The Start Talking Cup, a flagship event for the past six years for the Simcoe County branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), has again been canceled due to government restrictions to halt the rise in COVID-19 positive cases.

Liz Grummett, CMHA’s resource development manager, says she looks forward to bringing a sense of normalcy back to the players and hundreds of fans who attend the Games each year.

“When we started planning in the fall, we were very hopeful. In hindsight, you might be wondering if we should have bothered at all, but we just didn’t know what was going to happen, ”said Grummett.

The Start Talking Cup combines hockey and mental health awareness by having teams play a regular season game while the CMHA staff and volunteers are available to discuss mental health issues and distribute brochures of information.

Traditionally, in the boys’ game, the little dwarves “AAA” Barrie Colts meet their rivals, the North Central Predators based in Rama.

In the girls’ category, the dwarves’ AA ‘Barrie Sharks have competed against different teams in the last few tournaments.

Grummett said the Start Talking Cup raised approximately $ 65,000 in its six years, but added that awareness and education are what are most missed.

“We not only train the players, but also parents and coaches, and that’s a big reason we’re holding the Start Talking Cup,” she said. “We’re considering doing this through Zoom this year, but we’re waiting to see because we understand how kids are already overwhelmed with online learning. Too much of it can have a negative impact. “

Unlike last year’s competition, Grummett hopes this year’s Start Talking Cup will be a postponement, not a cancellation.

“Hopefully we’ll talk about this in March and how great it is to be back,” she said. “But we have to wait and keep our fingers crossed.”

Although the games cannot take place at the moment, the CMHA is still helping the community. Grummett said telephone communications will continue, as will the crucial face-to-face meetings with security arrangements.

“Anyway, we’re out there helping those who need help, and we’ve seen many who have needed it in the past two years,” said Grummett.

Anyone in need of psychological support can call 705-728-5044.

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