Sean Blanchette, left, beside Loralee Marin, Malcolm Radke, Kerry Graves, Cassandra Henderson, Steve Cassidy, Aaron Buck and Mayor Gerald Aalbers at the unveiling of the Boundary Battle of Alberta. (Photo by Brendan Collinge, MyLloydminsterNow.com staff)
UPDATE: The Boundary Battle of Alberta has officially sold out.
The Border City is set to host it’s very own Battle of Alberta this fall. On September 28, at 3 p.m., 16 Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers alumni will be in Lloydminster to duke it out at the Centennial Civic Centre to benefit the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation.
Former players of both teams will be in the city all weekend. Community activities are planned at the Servus Sports Centre the morning of the game, and the players will be at the Lloydminster Bobcats’ banquet. Six months of planning went into organizing the Boundary Battle of Alberta, with sponsorship from Boundary Ford to ensure all proceeds raised will benefit the LRHF.
More specifically, the event is in support of Project Sunrise’s upcoming program geared towards young athletes. “Game Plan” aims to be a comprehensive mental health program to help athletes, coaches, team staff, parents and billets, to raise awareness on mental illness and substance use, build personal skills for mental wellbeing and stress management, recognize the signs of a problem, and where to go for help.
The event is shaping up to be a big weekend in Lloydminster. Malcolm Radke, CEO of the LRHF, says the need for mental health resources is very present in the city. He also notes a shift in the NHL’s attitude towards mental health that can benefit players of all levels.
“For all of those Junior A athletes leaving home for a year, as well as with athletic pressures, they just need some more support here and there. I think it’s huge for any young athlete, seeing the biggest athletes [here] in town setting the example, attending these things and learning about the supports. It really shows those little guys that it’s OK,” says Radke.
Project Sunrise is aiming to do even more for the community, including adding mental health transition beds. Radke says the LHRF is getting close to reaching this goal, but in the meantime, hopes to foster ways to manage mental health before reaching that point.
Radke says that Boundary Ford was instrumental in ensuring this fundraiser could be affordable for families and sees it as a great opportunity.
“It’s hard to reach the next generation of sports fans in town, about [how] the hospital is important to [and] mental health is important too. For us, it’s going to be a huge opportunity to get our name out there and have a big celebration for our community all weekend.”
Steve Cassidy, marketing manager at Boundary Ford, is excited to bring this event to everyone in Lloydminster. Cassidy spoke on how mental health has impacted everyone in some way and is happy to get Boundary Ford Gives involved in a way that can benefit the whole community.
“We just need to be properly equipped for people in need. We need to erase the stigma. With this project, we’re going to have the proper professionals there to help people, short and long term, which is such a necessity. For us, it was an absolute no brainer to again put our stamp on another landmark here in the community, and I’m just so proud to be able to be part of it,” says Cassidy.