The month of November is more than just an excuse to wear a questionable mustache for hockey players. It's also a chance to wear a questionable mustache to raise funds for awareness of men's health issues.
Estevan Bruins forward Brady Nicholas, still sporting his own Movember look, took the funds he raised, with the help of teammates and family members, and donated it to Envision Counselling in Estevan. All told, he raised exactly $1000.
"Mental health is something that affects everybody, either directly or indirectly," said Nicholas. "I've seen it affect family members, friends, teammates, guys on other teams. It felt right to raise money for something that meant a lot to me."
Men's health initiatives are the focus of Movember, a movement where, in the month of November, men grow their mustaches to raise money for health awareness and programs. Nicholas and the rest of the Bruins organization grew their mustaches throughout the month, and Nicholas's pledge was the one that raised over $1000. Though he could've donated it any number of places, he settled on Envision.
"We wanted it to stay within the community," he said. "Instead of going with the Movember Foundation, which is more global, Envision Counseling was a way to help directly benefit the community while showing our support within the community."
Envision was certainly grateful to receive the donation. Tania Andrist of Envision has the money earmarked for programs like walk-in counseling, which can be expensive to maintain. She said the profile the Bruins have in the community makes the donation all the more important.
"When he (Nicholas) is starting to tell community members that our organization is valid and it's credible, people listen to them," Andrist said. "He's a leader in our community, and young people are looking up to him. When he's saying 'listen to what these guys at Envision are telling you,' when Julie (Dzuba) is in the schools, they know then that there's someone in the community that they might look up to that thinks that's a pretty good program."
At the end of Movember, most of the Bruins and their staff removed their mustaches, though Nicholas is still sporting his. He didn't have to think long about which Bruins had the most luck on the growth front.
"Probably have to go with the Manz brothers," he said with a chuckle. "Those guys can grow some pretty nice facial hair."
The Bruins and Envision Counseling will partner once again during the 50/50 for a cause in February.