The Islanders held their first Do It For Daron night on January 5th, 2018 when they played against the Penguins. Put together by Luke Richardson after his daughter passed away from suicide in 2010, the night helped raise awareness and money for the movement.
While the Islanders might have lost on the ice, their help in raising awareness for DIFD won. The team wore purple DIFD beanies during warm-ups while the ice crew wore purple jerseys. The color is important to both Richardson and the movement as it was his daughters favorite color.
DIFD is a movement that focuses on raising awareness and starting the conversation around youth mental health. Richardson wants to get the conversation started and help young teens talk about their feelings. When talking about the movement, Richardson said, “Mental health and suicide are not very comfortable subjects. It’s just starting to get a little bit of traction now and people are starting to feel more comfortable talking about it, but it’s still not there.”
The Islanders are setting an example for other teams in the league to get involved with mental health awareness. Players getting involved with Bell Talks is a huge part of informing people, the league could go a lot further with showing their support. While DIFD has only been to a few cities, Richardson should definitely spread it to more. Mental health is a huge thing that often gets swept under the rug and by bringing it to the forefront with an NHL team, it helps educate and inform those who don’t know.