(photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick)
While the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Ottawa was a showcase of the greatest women’s hockey players in the world, one aspect may have held a more profound impact.
Do It for Daron, an Ottawa-based foundation which preserves the memory of the late Daron Richardson, was named as the official charity for the 2013 Worlds. In looking to raise funds for mental health research, the cause has become one that has touched the hearts of many in the Ottawa area.
The April 3 contests at Scotiabank Place signified DIFD Night. A designated group of seats in the 300 Level of SBP were the Power to the Purple section. Every seat sold in that section resulted in $5 going back to DIFD at the Royal.
Stephanie Richardson was part of the highlight of that day. During the first period of the Canada vs. Switzerland match. Stephanie Richardson (Daron’s mother) was introduced to the fans to applause.
Beside her was Puckster, the mascot of Hockey Canada for the IIHF Worlds. Instead of wearing a Hockey Canada jersey, Puckster had a bright purple jersey with the DIFD Heart logo adorned on the front.
Even after April 3, the Power to the Purple section of SBP still featured the DIFD signs and logos. During the entire tournament, public service announcements for DIFD (which featured hockey hero Tessa Bonhomme) ran on the arena’s big screen, helping to positively reinforce the message that no one needs to feel alone and helpless.
Throughout the event (including the facilities at both at Nepean Sportsplex and
Scotiabank Place), DIFD had tables with volunteers that distributed brochures and purple bracelets. In addition, the volunteers that were selling 50/50 tickets all wore DIFD T-Shirts.
With a tournament that featured many historic moments for Canada (Caroline Ouellette’s 200th game, Jayna Hefford’s 250th game, Bailey Bram’s 1st goal, Brianne Jenner scoring the 500th goal in Canadian history at the IIHF Worlds), perhaps the most historic accomplishment was all the people that were introduced to the DIFD cause.
The beauty of DIFD is that every time the awareness of it increases, it can potentially save a life. With the impact that the cause had during the IIHF Worlds, everyone was truly a winner.