Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Johnny Gaudreau, Blue Jackets fans step up to support Patrik Laine’s mental health awareness initiative

The Columbus Blue Jackets and their fans have rallied behind forward Patrik Laine following insensitive comments made online about his mental health struggles. Teammate Johnny Gaudreau has stepped up with an initiative that will help raise money for men’s mental health awareness.

Prior to the season, Laine announced a program in which he would donate $1,000 to the OhioHealth Foundation’s mental health resources for every point he scored. Last month, Laine entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program to deal with mental health struggles of his own.

Last week, insensitive comments regarding Laine’s mental health battle were made on a podcast. Laine saw the remarks and called them out on social media.

With Laine out, Gaudreau has decided to get involved to keep things rolling. Gaudreau will now donate $1,000 to mental health resources for every point he scores through the remainder of the season, the team has announced.

Asked about the initiative during his media availability, Gaudreau said he just wanted to support Laine as he goes through a hard time.

“We miss Patty in the locker room,” Gaudreau said. “We miss seeing him around the rink and having him around the rink. When I saw he was doing that to start the season, I thought it was awesome. It was for a great cause, and he had to go into the program to deal with stuff like that. I thought, ‘What better way to support him to pick up where he left off?'”

Gaudreau added that the podcast comments were not what spurred his decision to join Laine’s charitable efforts. Gaudreau said he made up his mind over the All-Star break.

“No, I decided over break I wanted to do this,” Gaudreau said. “Then, kind of an idiot comes out and says some terrible things like that. It’s tough to see that, especially when someone is going through something so tough.”

Blue Jackets fans have also shown love to Laine by donating to the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. Hockey social media influencer Nasher started a campaign for fans to donate $29, Laine’s jersey number, to the foundation. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the foundation has raised more than $10,000 from over 200 individual donations as of Tuesday afternoon.

We’ll see how much more money gets raised as Gaudreau tries to finish the season on a high note. Through 52 games, Gaudreau has tallied 7 goals and 28 assists.

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