Winnipeg Jets senior executive Craig “Zinger” Heisinger will trade the hockey rink for the presenter's podium this week, when he meets with College students and staff to discuss his personal connection with mental health, and why he feels it’s so important to keep the conversation going.
Heisinger’s noon-hour visit on Tuesday is part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, established four years ago to create a healthy College community, enhance mental health literacy, and better meet the mental health needs of students, staff and faculty.
“We are honoured to have such a well-known and respected member of the hockey community — and the mental health community — here to help us keep the conversation about mental health awareness going on campus,” says Breanna Sawatzky, RRC’s Mental Health Coordinator.
“Events like this are an integral part of our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, because they let those who may be struggling know they are not alone, and there are supports available. Mental illness knows no boundaries — it affects all of us, from post-secondary students to NHL hockey players.”
Heisinger is the Senior Vice-President & Director, Hockey Operations, and the Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. He was close with Manitoba Moose forward Rick Rypien, who struggled with mental illness and ultimately died in 2011.
Rypien’s legacy lives on through the True North Youth Foundation’s Project 11 and through Zinger, who visits local schools throughout the year, sharing Rick’s story and raising awareness of mental health.
“Every time I have the opportunity to speak to schools about mental wellness, it helps remove the stigma,” says Heisinger.
“I commend Red River College for its commitment to mental health awareness among students and staff on campus. The Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative provides the tools and supports for students to practice their own positive mental health, and to know that they can reach out for help when needed. This is a true sign of strength.”
All students, staff and faculty members are invited to the event, which takes place at noon in the South Gym on RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. The event will also be livestreamed for those who can’t attend in person.