Why did NHL players take a fun science experiment to the ice?
By Brian KlaasThe NHL has begun a major push to improve the health of its players and teams, launching a major initiative in January to improve mental health in its players.
The league will spend $20 million over three years to fund research on the brain and behavior, and the NHLPA is calling for the development of an interdisciplinary team that can help identify mental health challenges among its players as they enter their 30s and 40s.
“I think what’s been missed is the impact that the league and the players have had on the culture,” said NHLPA President and CEO Donald Fehr.
“I think it’s important to see how far we can take it.
We have to see what we can do.”
The NHL is also launching a new, online platform, Player Connect, that will allow players to share their story, video, photographs and other personal information with a network of experts and influencers in order to help better understand mental health and mental illness among their teammates and fans.
“What we have seen over the last couple of years is a big spike in mental health among players and the way that we deal with it is often really tough,” said former Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars forward Shawn Horcoff.
“It’s a tough time for them.
And I think that it’s a real opportunity for us to be able to do something that will help us in the long run, but it’s going to take some work.”
The effort to create a better mental health program is not a new idea for the NHL.
The league has been working to improve its mental health programs since its inception, and has expanded its Mental Health and Wellness Program into the NHL Foundation, a program that supports mental health care and education in all sports.
But the NHL’s effort to put its players first has been largely ignored by other sports.
According to the National Hockey League Players Association, the average number of players with mental health issues in professional sports has decreased from 10.6 per 100,000 players in 2013 to 8.7 in 2016.
That drop in numbers is in part due to a series of initiatives implemented by the NHL and NHLPA, including the creation of the NHL Player Health Initiative, the NHL Players’ Mental Health Initiative and the NBA Players’ and NBA Players Association Mental Health Programs.
In 2015, the league expanded the league’s Mental Health Awareness Program and launched the NHL Mental Health Alliance, which is a joint effort between the NHL, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and NHL Players Association to help players who are experiencing mental health problems.
The NHLPA’s new initiative, which begins next month, is designed to bring together all the league members, the players’ union and NHL.
It aims to develop an interprofessional team that will provide a platform for the league to share information and ideas that players and league officials can use to improve their mental health, which includes the creation and maintenance of an online platform for players and their fans to share the best practices in mental wellness.
Players will also be able use the platform to get their feedback and input on the league, which could include what to expect during the season, when they should have their next practice, when to practice or whether they can travel to a team’s training camp.
The players will also get a chance to participate in a panel discussion about mental health at a conference called the NHL World Cup of Hockey, which will be held in Helsinki, Finland in July.
The goal of the conference is to provide the league with the tools to address mental health concerns of its athletes and provide guidance on how to address those issues in the future.
“It’s really important to us that we make sure that we’re making sure that the players and our employees are fully informed about all of the research that’s going on and all of these programs that are coming out, so that we can provide them with the resources they need and to take a step back and say, ‘This is what we do and this is what it’s doing to us,'” said Fehr, who added that he hopes to meet with representatives from the NHL to discuss the issue.
The new initiative will take place in three phases: a pilot project with players in the first half of this year, a two-year pilot with teams in the second half of the year and a five-year project that will involve the NHL as well as the NBA and MLB.
The effort will also involve the players themselves, which has already started with the NHL Network, which currently features highlights and behind-the-scenes footage of the players.
“We’ll get the players to have a conversation about it and share that with the league,” said Feh.
“This is the first time that we’ve done it.
There’s going a lot of work to do and we’re really excited about the partnership that we have with the players.”