Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced a new partnership in collaboration with presenting sponsor WINMAR®, teaming-up with Heroic Minds to offer additional mental health support to players and member team officials.

Players and staff from across the Ontario Hockey League will have access to the Heroic Minds platform developed by Kitchener Rangers alumnus Ben Fanelli (2009-14), who overcame a traumatic brain injury before going on to become OHL and CHL Humanitarian of the Year in 2013. Fanelli played in over 200 OHL games for the Rangers, graduating to complete a BA in Communications and Masters of Counselling & Psychotherapy while also serving as an Assistant Coach of the Waterloo Warriors U SPORTS men’s hockey program.

Heroic Minds arms athletes with tools and resources, enhancing the current approach to behavior change and highlighting the direct link between overall life skills and sport performance. The platform includes access to resources on psychoeducation, philosophy, psychology, leadership skills, communication skills, relationship skills and much more.

“One of the most important features in the platform is the ability to share practices with other users which inspires a culture of support and collective well-being,” said Fanelli, Chief Vision Officer at Heroic Minds. “We have seen the success of this over the past year in both the sport and corporate space.”

Starting in 2016 with the Heroic Minds Podcast, Fanelli interviewed over 100 people that had been through a tremendous amount of adversity in their lives including disease, amputation, immense pressure and loss, suicide and more. “I noticed that the way these individuals overcame their challenges was different than our current approach to mental health,” he observed. “The existing methodology constitutes taking action once someone is already anxious or depressed. Thus, we focus on the symptoms of anxiety and depression and direct people to take time off, meditate for five minutes or attend a workshop. We are not looking upstream to uncover the cause or what tools, ideas, and concepts could prevent things. Ultimately, we are leading people away from the experiences, self-reflections and ideas that can truly improve how they feel, think, and perform.”

The Heroic Minds platform will provide OHL players and staff with a tremendous mental health resource that can be accessed at any time, and will complement the mental health and suicide prevention training the League has been conducting in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association through the Talk Today program since 2014.

“We have a long-standing partnership with the OHL and this initiative is a great way to expand upon that partnership and to encompass more than just sport,” said WINMAR® President Glenn Woolfrey. “WINMAR®s’ strength is our people and to have this partnership with Heroic Minds and the OHL provides us the opportunity to continue our commitment to focus on individuals, with open meaningful dialogue within the communities that we serve around a topic that has been quietly hidden for too long.”

“Ben’s story and what he’s doing is super important for our players and we’re happy that, with the help of WINMAR®, we can provide them with these additional resources and supports,” added Brodie Barrick, the OHL’s Director of Recruitment and Player Services. “As someone who played in the OHL, I know that the tools being provided by Heroic Minds will go a long way towards the holistic development of student-athletes across the League.”

For more information on Heroic Minds, visit heroicminds.live/benfanelli or follow along on Instagram.

About Heroic Minds
Heroic Minds was born in 2018 when Kitchener Ranger (OHL) Alumni Ben Fanelli started the Heroic Minds Podcast and began his Master of Counselling and Psychology. Heroic Minds takes a proactive approach to mental well-being by offering psychoeducation, life skills and tools in a pragmatic, applicable and enjoyable way.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

WINMAR® is a trusted network of 90 plus locations providing quality restoration services 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year from coast to coast.  WINMAR® is one of Canada’s fastest growing Property Restoration companies continually reviewing and enhancing its environmental sustainability, serving all aspects of the residential, commercial, industrial, and insurance network.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s