The side of Edges of Muskoka may need a fresh paint job on Monday morning.
From 10 a.m. on Nov. 11 until 10 a.m. on Nov. 12, Brady Leavold, the founder of Puck Support, invited guests, and anyone who signs up for a timeslot and donates on PuckSupport.com will shoot pucks at the side of the business at 12 Monia Ln. in Bracebridge.
Tickets for the event are $20 and earn you a 15-minute slot to shoot pucks.
Leavold says it’s in support of Wounded Warriors Canada. Every dollar raised will go to the organization that he says supports the mental health of veterans and first responders. “It’s a very worthy cause,” he continues.
The idea came to him a few weeks ago. Leavold thought about doing something on Remembrance Day in support of veterans and shining a spotlight on an organization that supports them. “It’s a well-known name,” he says of Wounded Warriors. “They’ve done incredible work.”
The shoot-a-thon will feature Leavold and hockey influencers like Coach Chippy and Coach Jeremy.
“My hope is we can ignite some really powerful conversations in this community,” says Leavold.
The idea for this stems from the organization he started: Puck Support.
“When I was a young kid, I went through some really hard circumstances with abuse and some other things that kind of set me on a path for some hardships in my life,” explains Leavold. “Hockey was the one constant that kept on the straight and arrow for a while.”
However, despite starring for the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League and later being signed by the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Leavold says his past trauma caught up with him. While injured, he was prescribed painkillers that led him to some “dark times” that saw him spend time in the hospital, psychiatric wards, and jail. “Places I never thought I would be as a young boy, especially as a professional hockey player,” says Leavold.
He grew up in British Columbia, but four years ago he moved to Muskoka.
“There were a lot of moments in my life when I thought it was rock bottom,” he says. “The biggest part of it was not wanting to or being able to deal with childhood trauma.”
However, the moment that changed everything was when he was able to open up to someone about what happened. “It’s still a challenge on the best of days,” he says, adding it can be a daily struggle.
However, Leavold says he has been in recovery for four years.
Part of that recovery involved him starting a podcast diving into the issue of addiction. He found he was not alone. “Four years ago, after coming out of the hell that was my life, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he says. “I had no idea. I had no hope.”
Through the podcast, called Hockey: To Hell and Back, he’s learned of others dealing with similar struggles. There are more widely known players like Wade Belak and Derek Boogaard, but Leavold says he knows of 106 professional hockey players who have died because of addiction-related issues.
“I wanted to do something about it,” he says.
The shoot-a-thon, he continues, is just one part. Leavold hopes that by using hockey, he can bring together people to discuss mental health, their journeys, and support others.
“I will guarantee you; you will find you’re not alone,” he passionately says. “Number one thing though you have to remember that you’re worth you matter and just stay. your story is not finished.”