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30 Jan

Wyrostok Joins ‘I Got Mind Tour’

While playing hockey in his hometown of Medicine Hat last year, current Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) forward Caleb Wyrostok sought guidance with the mental aspect of his game for the first time. Months later he is now sharing what he has learned with communities around Western Canada. “I actually came to Bob (Wilkie) on the side and asked if he could work with me for a couple things and we got involved that way. He helped me with some of the mental aspects of my game like performance anxiety,” said Wyrostok. A former NHL veteran having played for the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers, Wilkie now uses his experiences to educate kids and parents about depression, anxiety, stress, self-loathing, addiction and sleep issues that come with the sporting life. In October of 2018, Wilkie started the ‘I Got Mind’ tour with the goal of helping athletes and their families deal with mental illness. According to their website, I Got Mind’s purpose is threefold:
  • To raise awareness of the mental health issues that arise in the sporting world
  • To empower attendees to make decisions that will result in positive results
  • To eliminate the social stigma that comes along with the words “mental health”
“He’s a great person, really easy to talk to, he offers support for everyone. It’s a great initiative that he started, and I think he wants to give back because he went through similar stuff that other people were going through and he just wants to give insight. He wants to help other people with what they’re going through,” said Wyrostok. Along with Wilkie the ‘I Got Mind’ panel includes the likes of former NHL player Kelly Hrudey, former World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist Kerrin Lee-Gartner, and psychologist Shawn O'Grady, and NAX’s own, Caleb Wyrostok. “He asked me this September if I wanted to join ‘The Panel’ and speak about some of the stuff I went through and how I overcame it,” said Wyrostok, who won’t turn 16 until April. “I was really hard on myself last year. I always held myself to a high standard, so I talk about that a lot. I talk about some of the struggles from my family like my mom was just diagnosed with cancer and stuff like that.” “I think I provide help and some knowledge that adults can’t provide for some of the kids.  If they see another kid up there, they kind of know that other kids are going through it and they’re not alone,” said Wyrostok. “I love doing it, I love helping other people and for sure I think I’ll continue on with doing it.” Wyrostok added he can already feel the impact he’s having on the lives of the young athletes he’s influencing. “I’ve had lots of friends, some people I don’t even know, some hockey players from our league, that have come up to me after and said this is really good, I’ve been going through similar stuff and it really helps.” While being on the panel and in a position to help educate others on mental health, Wyrostock isn’t done learning. “Public speaking is probably the biggest (thing I’ve learned) and sharing stuff that is out of my comfort zone is probably the second biggest.” “I was really nervous, kind of shaky, at the start. I didn’t eat much before but as I eased my way into things it got better. Once I got up on stage and got going it kind of just flowed and it was good. I think that I felt more comfortable the second time after I had the first time under my belt.” Wyrostok is in his first year with NAX playing for their Elite 15s team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) recording 16 goals, 14 assists and 30 points in 23 games played. He attributes some of his success to Wilkie and the work the two have done together. “All the mental skills Bob has taught me and continuing on with this, I think the mental preparation is probably the biggest part of my game now and I think I’ve been doing that really well the last couple of games and I think I’m going to continue doing it really well.” The next ‘I Got Mind’ Tour date is set for February 19, 2019, in Airdrie/Calgary with other shows in Lethbridge and Edmonton set for undetermined dates in February and March. “I encourage whoever to join the next ‘I Got Mind’ tour date,” said Wyrostok. “Reach out for help. Know that you’re not alone. There are lots of people going through it and we just need to talk about it more.”