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“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” Shares D Jay McGrath

Many of you will have seen D Jay McGrath around town or active on social media sharing his story on his mental health and addiction challenges.

Born and in raised in Kindersley, D Jay played minor hockey in town before leaving home at 15 to pursue his dream of playing next level hockey. First heading to Saskatoon to play for the Saskatoon Contacts at the age of 15, he then went on to play in the WHL for the Everett Silvertips for two years before returning home to play for the Klippers for two years spending his last year as home town captain. Lastly, he played for Red Deer College in the ACAC for two years.

D Jay shared that looking back, he now realises he wasn’t ready for the pressure that surrounds someone at a young age, especially when playing sports. As a way of dealing with his feelings, he held his emotions inside, which lead to depression, anxiety, and addictions with drugs and alcohol for the past 10 years.

“The stigma of not being able to show our feelings or express our emotions because us athletes/men are labelled as “tough guys” is not good. The stigma of not being able to show our feelings or shed a tear is not good for mental health. Sharing your feelings is huge,” said D Jay.

Now happily six months sober, D Jay said, for him, the first step was seeking help and that speaking to parents about his challenges was the best thing he could have done for himself.

“If you or anyone that you know of is going through something, I want you to know that “it’s ok to not be ok” and that the first step is SPEAKING UP. The day I told my parents everything was the best day of my life! The amount of support I’ve had from not only my family but the community is unbelievable! So speaking up about feelings is very important.”

Keeping busy has also helped D Jay with his sobriety. “I battle every day, but by being involved in the community, becoming assistant coach for the Bantam AA’s and playing Sr. hockey again really helps with my mental health. Finally, starting to love myself again, going on walks or to the gym, and most importantly going and sharing my story with schools, teams, businesses, has really helped me since it holds me accountable and helps with my mental health!”

Another thing that is keeping D Jay busy is inviting the public down to skate with him, most recently at the Kinsmen Outdoor rink. Because of the success of that invite, from December 27-30, he is organizing another skate for anyone who wishes to join! Times and dates are as follows:

FREE FOR ALL (each day lunch is covered)

West Central Events Center

December 27th

11am-12 – on ice

12-1 – Lunch Panago pizza

1-2pm – on ice

December 28th

11am-12 – on ice

12-1- lunch Sponsored by Kindersley Mainline Motors

1-2pm- on ice

December 29th

11am -12- on ice

12-1- lunch Sponsored by Energy Dodge

1-2pm- on ice

December 30th

11am- 12 – on ice

12-1 lunch Sponsored by White Cap Resources

1-2pm on ice

All ice covered by Cameron’s Clothing and Pro-Bilt Structures

*Please email D Jay so he has a rough estimate on lunches. Email: deejmcgrathhockey@gmail.com”Thanks to ALL sponsors, if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be able to do this!” shared D Jay.

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