For Immediate Release: January 17, 2014
Contact: Larry Pegg, TheHockeyProject1(at)gmail.com
With Mental Health (MH) issues and Suicide reaching near crisis proportions in parts of Canada, and indeed around the world, a Canadian musician is announcing the upcoming release of an uplifting Suicide Prevention (SP) Music Video that is using the metaphor of Canada’s Game and the world’s most famous Hockey Song to engage Canada’s and the world’s hockey players and fans during the Sochi Games and beyond. The creator of the project believes hockey will join and lead the push towards increased awareness and helping make a difference.
The song entitled Don’t Stop Stompin’ was co-written by Larry Pegg and Juno award winner Edmund Eagan and is presented under The Hockey Project (HP) banner in a campaign called “Hockey is Great. LIFE is BIGGER!”. The HP was started by Pegg in the wake of losing his daughter to suicide. Pegg is deeply motivated to help reduce the crushing tragedies that are repeated all too often in every country around the world. As a contribution, he believes the song’s title and message will resonate with Canadians, helping to create momentum to shift the Mental Health paradigm on a global scale.
Slated for release and distribution during the Sochi Games the video is centered on Canada’s Game and a tribute to “The Hockey Song” by the late Stompin’ Tom Connor’s, using both as metaphors to “Take MH out of the Penalty Box and on to Centre Ice”.
The determined Campaign is gaining grass roots momentum. Hockey is Great. LIFE is BIGGER! started in November 2013 as part of Pegg’s participation in the Hockey Night in Canada Song Quest, CBC’s search for Canada’s Next Great Hockey Song. An important component of this campaign is his commitment to donate proceeds to Mental Health charity Do it for Daron (DIFD) well known and supported in hockey circles.
The Film Script
The script features Ottawa musician and local icon “Lucky Ron” performing in the midst of the action in a game. Two players are penalized and sent to the penalty box (representing stigma, isolation and depression ). The darkness surrounds them then lifts and not only two players leave the box, but a flash-mob of them stream out onto the ice to join the game (of life) where an all out Michael Jackson Thriller-style ice-dance ensues. Although a dark subject, it will be an uplifting treatment meant to inspire interest in the sport and teamwork and individualism and ultimately survival.
The hockey and skating world has been already responding to the idea beyond expectations, offering time and resources to help with the production. For example, the Canadian International Hockey Academy located in Rockland, Ontario has sponsored the project providing their 2000 seat arena for several days of filming, and as part of the ice-dance sequence, seventy (70) of their young hockey players from twelve nations around the world will be involved in the video. The HP has also received support from four Women’s University teams including Carleton, Ottawa, McGill and Concordia and teams from the CCHL. More support is coming every day, including first responders such as fire, armed forces, police, nurses, doctors and paramedics where the incidence of PTSD is high.
Pegg believes that Canada is uniquely positioned to have hockey lead while on the Olympic stage. “We are the one nation renowned all over the world for hockey. Using that legacy in a creative and supportive Music video will help the world understand this issue and because of Canada and hockey it will be noticed. Hockey can lead at Sochi and bring another great Canada-Russia moment for the ages, the last being in 1972.”
Pegg’s film team features Director Craig Conoley and Luca Fiore as Assistant Director.
Although Pegg's daughter never played organized hockey she loved the game, the artistry, the unity and the excitement. Her joy for the game was captured in a photo taken by the Ottawa Senators and that picture was often projected onto the ice before SENS home games. This made her and her family happy and proud, but somehow darkness was looming, building towards her tragic mistake.
Over the last two years, Pegg has reshaped his life around two music projects, each using the power of music to help Mental Health (MH) and Suicide Prevention (SP). Music as therapy is already recognized for making a positive difference in people’s lives and it is Pegg’s own experience on his personal path of grief. As a powerful medium, Pegg’s “music as therapy” approach is his immediate goal for helping those that are directly affected by suicide. An integral part of the plan is to build awareness and to raise funds globally for these connected causes. His projects are now set up (www.LPGroove.ca and www.TheHockeyProject.ca) and have already been successful, getting noticed by the public, first responders, within the mental health area, in music and hockey circles and in the media. His new album “Before and Afterlife: The Theory of Positivity” has received international radio play and news coverage and it is making a difference for many already.
Edmund Eagan is an award winning music composer and producer. Notable projects include composing the themes for the Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
The Canadian International Hockey Academy is a co-ed boarding institution recruiting athletes in grades 9 to 12 from around the world. Located in Rockland, Ontario, CIH Academy has pro-style facilities, an elite hockey program, as well as a world class educational program and an environment to help their athletes succeed in school, in hockey, and in life.
The film project also includes a 30 second commercial and a short documentary. The script will be ready to start filming January 28th, (Bell Let’s Talk).
The HP website will feature the music video, a 30 second commercial and a range of videos and related promotional elements including;
- A sponsors section for business and corporate supporters
- An “Optional" Individual Recognition Section for individuals that want to support. They can also support anonymously.
- An interview segment called “Coaches Cornered” a discussion forum to hear from coaches about the challenges surrounding the Mental Health approach to help their organizations and players.
- Hockey music from the 1000 CBC SongQuest contestants. The HP has contacted most of the artists and created a database for their hockey music A page will be created with links to most of the artists. A compilation of SongQuester’s music is proposed.
When it comes to Hockey as a national obsession and as a global phenomenon, it’s said that Canada is still king. Internationally, there is a tangible curiosity about Canadian’s and their hockey/skating obsession and this stereotype and legacy is Canada’s brand. Pegg believes Canada’s hockey reputation provides an excellent platform to engage international media to cover this Hockey meets MH story. In Canada, Hockey is well known for it’s many charitable commitments and mental health is one of them, an important part of the sport’s brand building process. This outreach may not be well known in other countries. Pegg believes this factor is part of a corporate and diplomatic opportunity for Canada.
"Using the legacy of hockey music and the metaphors of hockey allows for a seamless connection to the growing public concern for the MH issue.” says Pegg. "Here in Ottawa, the existing support for DIFD and Daniel Alfredsson’s role as ambassador for The Royal provides an example of a MH Charity and it’s connection to hockey. Both of these initiatives are Ottawa-based and optically connected to the NHL and provide more basis for gathering interest and building from. Another Ottawa factor is the loss of Jamie Hubley, son of Ottawa Councilor Alan Hubley. Together these high-profile stories have made a national impression and by tragic default, Ottawa has become an example and an epicentre, already rallying the community around the issue and by association, it’s a logical place for staging and a bringing this project forward, and especially at this time, going into the Olympic games.” says Pegg.
Pegg continues, "From the videos and pictures currently displayed at the HP website it appears the grassroots hockey response to the LIFE is BIGGER Campaign is already proving that the “hockey family” feels strongly about this issue and more importantly, they want to help. This evidence backs the plan. This visceral response is not just exclusive to hockey, it is growing across Canada and this growing tension offers an unparalleled opportunity at multiple levels. Given the positive and emotional response it is reasonable to argue that Canada is the one and only nation with the ability and the opportunity to make this plan unfold."
Pegg describes The Hockey Project as not only a Canada Project but a Global one, and he says it’s certainly worth the investment on any scale. "It is perfectly aligned with many existing corporate and government objectives that are in place and already resonating with and having an affect on Canadians, therefore it presents an exclusive opportunity to make a big difference for MH, and especially so going into the Sochi Games. It can be fairly defined as a one and only opportunity for Canada. The time is right to step up and support this project.” says Pegg.
Maximizing Media Exposure Potential and Building Momentum
To ramp this up to full potential the HP is aiming at leveraging the national and global media attention for three specific national events.
- Hockey Day in Canada (Jan. 18th). Announced filming plans to media via media alert.
- Bell Let’s Talk (Jan. 28th) Ideally release the video or a short in conjunction with this nationally covered event. Note: Bell is a major Olympic team Sponsor with mental Health as a focus. Leveraging this is not out of the question.
- Sochi Olympics and Paralympics (Feb.6th to Mar. 16th). Announce this and build towards the one year anniversary of the passing of Stompin’ Tom (March 6, 2014)
- There are also numerous local MH and SP events in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec that can support the main thrust described above.
The Don’t Stop Stompin’ Music Video is aimed at reaching the global stage for a globally important cause. If Canada leads, it will be a proud feather in Canada’s cap in the fight to de-stigmatize Mental Health and ultimately try and make the world safer, happier and healthier.
With a modest budget of roughly $15K in place, and in kind commitments of approximately $20K the project will proceed, however a world-class video production and distribution would range upwards of an additional $50K or more. Pegg says "This is such a powerful project and we believe that everyone will agree that this is a truly ethical investment opportunity that will be remembered and it will return substantial benefits to all supporters, certainly on a national and regional basis, and especially if it can be promoted globally as envisioned. Canada can reach out and impact the world through hockey. We encourage people and partners that care to join us and make a huge and unexpected positive contribution to Mental Health and the world."
The HP is calling for support from small business and corporations. A formal sponsorship document is being finalized and will be provided to our prospects upon their request. Everyone in Canada and around the world can help. Individual’s can support by purchasing the music on-line at either of his websites.
Let’s all shift the earth together.
To make that shift, just Start Stompin’ and Don’t Stop!