SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A hockey tournament this weekend is hoping to start an important conversation on and off the ice.
Angela Drake and Paula Mitchell are finishing up some final preparations for this weekend’s Fight Like a Ninja hockey tournament.
Not only does it bring girls together to play the game, but it’s also a way to honor the life of Angela’s daughter Brittany, who took her own life in 2016.
“They called her the ninja because she was this tiny, little goalie, but was quick and just had that spitfire spirit and supported anyone and we wanted to take her spirit and use that to help others,” founder, Fight Like A Ninja hockey tournament, Angela Drake said.
Drake says another goal of the tournament, is to start conversations around suicide awareness and prevention.
“During breaks in play, we throw out statistics and facts, and little things you can use to start a conversation with someone,” Drake said.
Mitchell has been volunteering with the event since its start in 2016.
“I really hope that it just gives another opportunity to pause and remind people a little bit of kindness goes a long way and we may not understand what is going on with somebody, and we don’t need to, we need to be supportive to our community,” volunteer, family friend, Paula Mitchell said.
14 teams are expected to participate this weekend.
Money raised during the tournament goes towards a scholarship and educating coaches.
“Start at any chance you get to have a conversation, it never hurts, and if you’re not right that they’re contemplating taking their life or needing support, when they do, they’ll know you’re a safe person to have that conversation,” Drake said.
The tournament runs Friday through Sunday at the Scheels IcePlex and is open to anyone. There will also be an educational breakfast Saturday morning for anyone interested.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or a mental health crisis, call the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline.