Metropolitan Riveters forward Kelly Babstock talks about Sunday's "Mental Health Awareness" Game and her career
The Metropolitan Riveters of the Premier Hockey Federation are hosting a Mental Health Awareness game day this Sunday (January 15 at 2pm) against the Minnesota Whitecaps at the Rink at American Dream in East Rutherford, NJ and airing on ESPN+.
Riveters forward and Quinnipiac University legendary scorer Kelly Babstock joins SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the impact of the game and his hockey career that began in her native Canada.
The event is presented by Mightier, the company that helps kids build emotional strength and visualize their emotions in real time. With an award-winning library of games, kids learn, practice and apply lifelong coping skills through play. As a presenting partner, the company will also have a product demonstration booth onsite at the venue for families looking to learn more about this play-based, digital therapy solution. Mightier Co-Founder and CEO Craig Lund will be on hand to speak before the game and drop the puck during face-off at American Dream.
Kelly Babstock, who has dual Canadian-American citizenship, is excited about Sunday's venue in East Rutherford and the message being sent through women's hockey and the Riveters.
"Mental health is huge. We typically don't talk about it enough. That's why it's very important to have these games to shine some light, and not even the games, just year round. I love the rink. American Dream is amazing. You know it's not your typical hockey rink. It's a fun time, especially for fans. You come to our game, you watch some good hockey and then you can go around because it's an entertainment and retail Center."
Babstock coaches girls and boys hockey teams and stresses parents need to make sure their children are having fun while playing the sport. She sees the pressure put on kids at an early age. For her, the pressures of being a professional athlete are challenging too.
"Being a professional hockey player, there's a lot of pressures and expectations on how we should be as a player. It is tough. I'm my biggest critic and my biggest fan and advocate. Putting pressure on myself and hearing other people and what they think, it does take a toll. It's trying to find that balance to be your best. It's not always easy, but just try to keep your head in a positive place."
Now a veteran in the PHF, Babstock takes leadership responsibilities and being a role model very seriously.
"I really take pride in making everyone feel included and important. How I do that is just talking to everyone I see. Every day I come to the rink I always say hi to all the gals in the locker room, everyone is important, in life too. You never know how your energy and how you talk to someone or notice someone will make them feel the rest of the day."
Babstock encourages youth players to speak up when they have issues and to discuss them with coaches and parents.
When Kelly was eight years old, she got an opportunity to meet Boston Bruins legendary defenseman and Hall of Famer Bobby Orrand will never forget getting kissed on the cheek by the hockey great.
"I was just ecstatic and knew how big a deal he is and ever will be."
That moment is one that Babstock treasures. Learning from that experience and many others, she enjoys signing autographs for kids and talking to them about the sport and their lives.
You can SEE the entire Sportsjam interview with Kelly Babstock here.