Hockey and music together for suicide prevention and mental health

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Musician to perform Sandy Hook benefit song 

From News Channel 2 WKTV Utica

By ALLISON NORLIANStory Created: Apr 4, 2014 at 10:57 PM EDT
Story Updated: Apr 4, 2014 at 11:18 PM EDT 

DEANSBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - Larry Pegg is a musician. The Canadian singer, song-writer and guitarist traveled from Canada to perform at the second annual Daniel Barden Mudfest, Saturday. He spoke with NEWSChannel 2 on Friday evening about why the Mudfest's mission holds close to his own heart.

The Mudfest started last year to remember Daniel Barden, a 7-year-old student who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The founder, Dan Williams, started the event after attending Barden's funeral. Barden and his niece were friends and classmates.

Pegg unknowingly became connected to the tragedy through his own personal tragedy. He lost his daughter to suicide seven years ago, a day that plays out in infamy in his mind. He used music as his therapy.

"I wrote a song called 'Last of the Hot Summer Days,' which was meshing America's grief over 9/11 with my own grief," Pegg said."And that my grief like America's grief will be everlasting."

Pegg was on his way to the recording studio to track that song in 2012, when the unthinkable happened, the Sandy Hook tragedy. Pegg says the news came across the radio in his car, forcing him to pull over.

"I pulled over and I cried. I went  to the studio and I laid it down with the pain of all those parents," Pegg said.

The song that helped him through his own tragedy, he plans to sing for all those who attend the second annual Mudfest at MKJ Farms in Deansboro.

"I have always tried to bring a positive message within the reality of life," Pegg said.

The Mudfest is a family friendly event that includes a kids half mile adventure run, an adult 5K and an adult elite run for experienced athletes.

All proceeds from the Mudfest benefit the Sandy Hook Promise, the Newtown community organization founded after the mass shooting tragedy. It will benefit Compeer, a community organization serving individuals in the Mohawk Valley who receive mental health services. 

Williams said he decided to make this an annual event after seeing the way it helped the Barden family last year, "It has been difficult but I have to tell you in November, Martin Barden called me and said last years mud run really helped pull them through. He asked if we could do it again and I said absolutely, we'll do it again."

Registration is at 7a.m. on April 5. The first wave of the 5K begins at 9:00a.m. followed by one every half hour.

To purchase Larry Pegg's song 'Last of the hot summer days,' or his CD you can visit this website. All proceeds from the sale of his song go to the Sandy Hook promise. 

If you purchase a physical copy of the CD or online, 50 percent of the proceeds go to the Sandy Hook Promise.

​Dancing for life: Rankin teen appears in celebrate life video 

Kaelan Collier Rankin Inlet Kivalliq Nunavut Canada Larry Pegg The Hockey Project suicide preventionDarrell Greer/NNSL photo

From Kivalliq News, April 2, 2014, Kivalliq, Nunavut, Canada
by Darrell Greer, Northern News Services
Larry Pegg The Hockey Project suicide prevention story Kaelan Collier Rankin Inlet Kivalliq Nunavut Canada

Kaelan Collier of Rankin Inlet is excited to be part of a music video combining song, dance and hockey to send a message of always putting life first. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo.

Like many in the Kivalliq, Kaelan Collier of Rankin Inlet knows the pain of losing a friend to suicide. 

But unlike the majority, Collier had the chance to participate in a project that celebrates life, and takes a swipe back at suicide through hockey, the performing arts and a message of love. 

Collier, 14, took part in the music video for Don't Stop Stompin,' part of the Hockey Project's Hockey is Great, Life is Bigger, while attending the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario, earlier this hockey season.

The project is the brainchild of Canadian singer/ songwriter Larry Pegg, who lost his 20-year-old daughter, Kelly, to suicide in December 2007.

Collier said being part of the unique hockey-meetsmental- health video was a great experience.

He said the 80 young players in the video took two days away from school to learn the featured dance steps.

"He (Pegg) also came to our school and gave some really good talks on how hockey will always be there for us, but life is the biggest thing there is," said Collier. 

"These days, having talks or presentations on suicide happens a lot. 

"But it has the most impact when a person who's been through it gets you into a group, talks to you about how hard it is to get over, and reminds you there's always someone who cares for you. 

"Life can be a challenge, and there's always going to be really rough spots, but you can overcome them." 

Collier said everyone loved working on the video. 

He said there were auditions held for the 20 or so in the video's lead roles, while the rest of the participants learned how to do the backing "stomp" dance. 

"This experience was a whole new bag for me. 

"It brought so much emotion to me because I've lost friends to suicide. 

"When he spoke to us about what he went through, it touched me deep down. 

"I'm not sure how, but it also boosted my self-confidence in being a hockey player." 

Collier said he was extremely happy when the video was released publicly. 

He said it was gratifying to see the finished video after working so hard on it. 

"I was so happy it got out and everything went as planned. 

"It came out on the date it was supposed to, and we were the first to see it before it went live." 

The video debuted in the arena of the Perth Blue Wings, a community of about 6,000 in southern Ontario still healing from the summer of 2011, when six male teenagers in Lanark County took their own lives during the span of a few weeks. 

Collier said he had a good feeling about the video from day one. 

He said the only part of the process he found difficult was when he first started learning the dance steps. 

"You had to move in a certain way and, if anyone messed-up, we'd have to start the whole set over again. 

"But I knew we'd get it right and the video would be good when it came out. 

"If he (Pegg) ever asked me to do something again with him, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

singer songwriter Larry Pegg The Hockey Project Kaelan Collier of Rankin Inlet From Kivalliq News story April 2, 2014, Kivalliq Nunavut CanadaSinger‑songwriter and video referee Larry Pegg, right, joins, from left, Jenna Cholette, Eric Salvail, Cameron Pound, Edie Levesque, Anna‑Rose Bertin, Bobbi Strople and Rahjan Munnings of the Canadian International Hockey Academy to show all you need is love in Rockland, Ontario, this past month. Photo courtesy Larry Pegg

Stompin' at suicide: Songwriter turns to hockey to deliver message of love, life 

Kivalliq News Kivalliq Nunavut Canada story Larry Pegg The Hockey Project video suicide preventionLarry Pegg, top row from left, Meagan Stewart, Matthew Clement, Wyatt Brauer, Jenna Cholette and Jong Ah Park, and, bottom row from left, Cameron Pound, James Marino, Kohei Sato and Maddy Koughan participate in the Don't Stop Stompin' suicide prevention music video filmed at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario, this past month. Photo courtesy Larry Pegg.

From Kivalliq News, March 26, 2014, Kivalliq, Nunavut, Canada
by Darrell Greer, Northern News Services

Hockey is Great! Life is bigger! That’s the message selected by a Canadian singer songwriter who knows the pain of suicide all too well, and who has turned to the game of hockey to spread a positive message to youths across the country and around the world. Larry Pegg released the music video Don’t Stop
Stompin’ this past month.

The piece is a unique hockey meets mental health video that pays tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors and tips its hat to the Beatles, while sending out a message of never giving up on life.

Filmed at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario, the video features 80 young hockey players from 11 different countries stompin’ out the Hockey Project’s anti suicide message.

The music video also features performer “Lucky” Ron Burke and the voice of the Ottawa 67’s, Dan Mooney.

Pegg remains a grieving father, having lost a daughter, Kelly, 20, to suicide in December 2007.

Larry said Kelly loved The Beatles and, although she never played organized hockey, loved to lace ‘em up and play shinny.

“We had a lake in our backyard, and we shovelled the ice off to become a community just by playing shinny,” said Pegg.

“We followed the NHL and Olympics and, as a family, gathered for the games.

“As long as a child has warm, comfortable skates, they can learn to skate.

“And the joy of skating is where the game of hockey begins.”

Larry said sport, in general, has been an expression of life for thousands of years. He said while Canadians enjoy many sports, hockey is the one game that truly brings people together.

“I see hockey as a uni form community around the world, he said. “The game splits ideological barriers and unifies people around one concept.

“I believe reaching kids should be mandatory and, if socialized sports is one way of doing that, so be it.”

Larry said Kelly always had a positive spirit, which made her death all the more shocking and stunning.

He said his daughter never suffered from alcohol abuse or drug problems.

“Kelly was a wonderful athlete and a typical child who played soccer and ultim ate Frisbee, and loved skating and playing shinny.

“I have a daughter who still lives, so I have to try to remain positive in the midst of this grief.

“I was with my songwriting partner, Edmund Eagan, when Stompin’ Tom died and I immediately came up with the line, don’t stop stompin.’

“Then we looked at whether we could celebrate the greatest hockey song ever written, and  turn  it  into  a metaphor on don’t give up on life, and the answer was yes.” Larry then came up with the concept of hockey is great, but life is better as a campaign to  bring  attention  to  mental health and suicide prevention through hockey.

His efforts fit in well with other campaigns with strong ties to the NHL.

Former NHLer Luke Richardson lost his daughter, Daron, 14, to suicide in Nov ember of 2010.
In 2011, the  Richard son family joined the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, the Ottawa Senators and the Sens Foundation to launch fundraising efforts and take part in awareness cam paigns to try and inspire youth to talk about mental health.
Daron’s birthday, Feb. 8, is now known as Do It For Daron Purple Pledge Day, which asks people to wear purple (Daron’s favourite colour) in support of the Daron Richardson Fund.

NHLer Daniel Alfredsson has a sister with mental health problems,  which  prompted him to become an ambassador for the Royal Ottawa Hospital. Larry  said  efforts  like those began to make it clear to him that the hockey com munity really cares about the

He said that’s when he began to realize there was something bigger going on.

“We watch these kids win and lose on the ice and, while it’s no fun watching them lose, that’s part of life.

“But there’s no answer when you lose a child.

“The hockey community is one of passion, and I want to bring that down to the com munity level.

“That’s where I believe the concept of life is bigger has to grow from.”

Larry hopes the Hockey Project helps open new lines of communication for youth around the world.

He said the 80 kids who took part in the video all have a positive story to tell.

“They had a lot of fun, learned how to ice dance and took part in a music video.

“They even got marks for their participation.

“It’s a great story that gives me cause to be hopeful, even in the wake of what I experi enced in losing my child.

“When you lose a child to suicide, it sucks the life out of you and can cause hopeless ness to creep in.”

Editor’s note: Kaelan Collier of Rankin Inlet took part in the video, but was away at the Arctic Winter Games at the time of this story. Please see the April 2 edition for his thoughts on the project.

Charlottetown, PEI - The Guardian does story on Maddy Koughan and her participation in The Hockey Project 

This is an example of the media coverage that is building. I want to thank each of you again for your contribution to help make this project successful:

P.E.I. hockey player skates into powerful issue
Jim Day, The GuardianPublished on March 16, 2014

© Submitted photo Maddy Koughan, 16, of Mermaid is in her first year with the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario. She and Blake Jamieson, 15, of Little Pond, along with other players from the academy, are featured in a new music video created by Larry Pegg of Ottawa to deliver a powerful message about mental health.

Maddy Koughan takes part in video to raise awareness about mental health

As a hockey player, Maddy Koughan naturally places great emphasis on her physical conditioning.

Her hockey world has also recently driven home the value maintaining good mental health.

Koughan, 16, of Mermaid is in her first year with the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario.

She and four 15-year-old P.E.I. hockey players -- Blake Jamieson, of Little Pond, Syl Yoston of Launching, Brechan MacLean of Charlottetown, and Jaxon Lamont of Summerside -- along with other players from the academy, are featured in a new music video created by Larry Pegg of Ottawa to deliver a powerful message about mental health.

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Lucky Ron, musicians and Larry Pegg pay tribute to Stompin' Tom, raise mental health awareness 

On Saturday, March 8th, 2014, Lucky Ron performed a musical tribute to Stompin' Tom at The Chateau Lafayette.

"It may not be new or different; the Lucky Ron Show is pretty status quo. But once in a while, something happens that is bigger than the show itself. It’s emotional on a national scale. When a legend is lost, the country mourns. For Canada, losing Stompin’ Tom Connors was a bag of mixed feelings – the happiness his songs brought to us, the memories his melodies created, and the ultimate sadness that comes along with the loss of an icon. For the Laff, our regulars, and especially to Lucky Ron, the passing of Stompin’ Tom brought forth a renewed community of music lovers and a determination to never let the melody fade away. To honor the late, great, Stompin’ Tom, during the second set of the show, The Chateau Lafayette opened our stage to musical impersonators of the one and only. Those that embody the persona, the talent, and the musical integrity required to perform for a full house were granted a guitar from Lucky Ron, and the stage to showcase their performance.

Before the Lucky Ron Show kicked off, The Chateau Lafayette featured a special presentation. After having his world rocked by the sudden suicide of his daughter, project leader Larry Pegg decided it was time to raise awareness for mental health in young people, and he chose hockey as a metaphor for it. A group of people then got together to create the Hockey Project ( He gathered Lucky Ron, the students at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ont., and supporters of the D.I.F.D. campaign for Mental Health Awareness. Together, they made the video titled “Don’t Stop Stompin’”. The Chateau Lafayette featured the music video at the beginning of the Lucky Ron Show. During the show, the venue sold mini cupcakes for $1 each, with all proceeds going to support D.I.F.D. A big Thank You to Cakes on St. Philippe for their donation in part to support this great cause.

Stompin' Tom tribute photo Larry Pegg Lucky Ron The Hockey Project

Ontario News North covers Marathon hockey star dropping the gloves in fight for mental health and suicide prevention 

Marathon Hockey Star Drops The Gloves In Fight for Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

Written by admin on 26 February 2014

Marathon’s Anna-Rose Bertin is part of a wonderful co-ed collaboration of 80 young athletes, from 11 countries, all skating for the cause of hope in a music video for Mental Health wrapped in a tribute to hockey and Canada’s late folk hero, musician/songwriter Stompin’ Tom Connors (February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013).
Following the outstanding human gestures of Canadian Olympic athletes at Sochi, a little-known Canadian artist and grieving father has stepped up with his own gesture of peace and hope for those suffering with mental health illness in Canada and worldwide.  Larry Pegg has created a unique Hockey-meets-Mental-Health music video called Don’t Stop Stompin’ sharing a message of hope through hockey. The original release of the video on Valentine’s Day reached more than 40k views before being replaced by the updated version which includes credits and information regarding the ‘Hockey Project’. The song carries a message of love and finding the strength to “Never give up on LIFE” while also paying tribute to the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, our internationally loved, canadian hockey-song hero.

Read full story. Canadian singer-songwriter releases "hockey-meets-mental-health" music video in support of suicide prevention 

OTTAWA, Feb. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Following the outstanding human gestures of Canadian Olympic athletes at Sochi, an unknown Canadian artist and grieving father has stepped up with his own gesture of peace and hope for those suffering with mental health illness in Canada and around the world. With it's main message of hope and hockey, Larry Pegg has created a unique Hockey-meets-Mental-Health music video called Don't Stop Stompin'. In part, it's a tribute to the late Stompin' Tom ConnorsCanada's and the world's hockey-song hero, but primarily it is sending the message of love and to "Never give up on LIFE." 

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