Champion - Kevin Bieksa

Hockey Night In Canada Studio Analyst, former NHL defenseman, and mental health advocate

Veteran defenseman became a Hockey Night in Canada analyst upon retiring from the NHL. Kevin began advocating for mental health after his friend and teammate Rick Rypien passed away in 2011 after struggling with depression.

As an NHL defenseman, Kevin Bieksa skated for the Vancouver Canucks for over ten seasons, playing an instrumental role in the teams that qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs seven times in nine seasons between 2007 and 2015. After finishing his 13-year career with the Anaheim Ducks, Kevin embraced a new role as a Hockey Night in Canada studio analyst.

As well as doing his best to keep up with his wife, Katie, and their two children, Kevin is very active as a mental health speaker and advocate. His support for this cause is rooted in his close friendship with former teammate Rick Rypien, who passed away in August of 2011 after struggling with clinical depression for years.

Having taken similar paths to their NHL dreams, the bond and trust between the two men strengthened to the point that Rick confided in Kevin that his anxiety and unexplained fears almost caused him to stay home from Canucks’ 2008 Training Camp. From that moment on, Kevin played yet another role: simply being there to listen to his friend.

Following Rick’s passing, Kevin frequently spoke out in support of Mindcheck.ca, which provided BC teens and young adults with a reliable, easy-to-use, interactive website to check out how they’re feeling and connect to support early and quickly. Mindcheck.ca content, including self-check quizzes, information pages, resources, and links, is now available at foundrybc.ca.

Kevin’s Health Tip

One of the best things you can do for a buddy is to listen to their problems without judgment. Just being there for your friends, even if you don’t really have a grasp on how they are feeling, can make them feel better.

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