UMD hockey hosting Sophie’s Squad mental health awareness doubleheader Saturday
Currently she is leading the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women’s hockey team in points. Last season she became one of just three players in NCAA DI women’s hockey history to be named both a Patty Kazmaier Award and Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist. Gabbie Hughes is accomplishing all this while helping run a non-profit.
Sophie’s Squad was founded last August 2021 by the Hughes family, and family of Sophie Wieland, to raise awareness, and remove the stigma, around athlete’s mental health.
In that year and four months the organziation has raised nearly $220,000, donating $50,000 to Children’s Minnesota’s new inpatient mental health unit. They’ve held 23 events and this Saturday Sophie’s Squad skates back into AMSOIL Arena.
“It’s definitely not something we’d forseen within our first year,” Hughes said about Sophie’s Squad’s success. “It was one of our big goals for maybe a five year plan or whatever but for it to be in our first year was incredible. Definitely not something that we imagined but it happened, and now we have to kind of replan and reconsider and figure out if that was one year what can we do in this next year?”
“It’s always a good reminder for coaches to view your players as more than just a hockey player,” head coach Maura Crowell added.
UMD hosts St. Thomas University Saturday at 3 p.m.
New this year, the Hockey Hits Back Sophie’s Squad Mental Health Awareness game will be a doubleheader as the Bulldog men host top-ranked Denver at 7 p.m.
“Mental health is really important to us so it’s good to be able to represent Sophie’s Squad,” men’s junior forward Wyatt Kaiser said. “I think it’s more of like guys are able to go out and say ‘I need help with this because I’m not good, I’m not good’, and have the abilitiy to get help and get better and build some skills.”
For more information on Sophie’s Squad or Saturday’s event in Duluth, Click Here.