By: Nicole Del Villano
Whether it’s the holiday season or just another time of the year, Nick Paul is no stranger when it comes to giving back to the people and communities around him.
“My mom has always been someone who gives back,” said Paul. “[My family] gets a family [in need] for Christmas to give presents to and usually for dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas we cook a turkey [for people who need it]. We were grateful and always keen on giving back.”
With his mother as an example, the 21-year-old has been using his status as a professional hockey player to help bring awareness to issues dear to him. After losing a friend in Grade 9 to suicide, Paul knew that when the opportunity arose he would bring awareness to mental health.
“Obviously you cannot make up for someone’s life, but I knew when I got somewhere that people would listen to me, I would do something,” said Paul. “[In the Ontario Hockey League] I was going to schools along with other appearances and people were listening.”
Paul got his chance after talking with his Billet Mom (family he lived with while playing junior hockey) about his ideas who then connected him with Tammy Morison, President and CEO of the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation in Ontario, Canada. After a few meetings, the Mississauga, Ontario, native and The Foundation came up with the idea of Points4Paul.
Points4Paul was set on the idea that with every point the left-winger scored during a season, family, friends and fans were invited to make a donation to help provide care to youth recovering from mental health illness as well as bringing awareness to the cause. Points4Paul carried throughout his OHL years and even helped earn him the honor of the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy after being named Humanitarian of the Year.
“[2014-15] was just a great year,” said Paul. “The feeling you get [from community work] you just can’t explain. I just love doing it and to get rewarded for it is even cooler.”
Paul decided to put his program on a brief hiatus when he began playing in the Ottawa Senators organization as to not take away from Luke Richardson’s efforts with Do It For Daron. Paul felt the message of the importance of mental health was still being reached through DIFD and wanted to support Richardson in his endeavors.
“I still donated to the cause in North Bay,” said Paul. “[Richardson] had such a great cause with mental health awareness and I did not want to step on any toes.”
While Points4Paul may have taken a season off, Paul is ready to bring the program and awareness back this season especially after coming off a multi-point weekend including a one goal and one assist game.
“Just going out there trying to inspire younger kids [is rewarding] because many experience bullying, stuff at home, and have trouble with mental health,” said Paul. “Just [for me] to get out there and [let the kids] see someone they can possibly look up to or listen to and tell them it is ok can make a huge difference.”
If fans would like to join Paul and donate to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at North Bay Regional Health Centre, they can do so by CLICKING HERE.
The B-Sens are back home tonight to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 7:05 p.m. inside Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Fans can tune in on U.S. Country 96.9 FM, 680 AM, iHeartRadio’s website and mobile app, and AHL Live.
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