Barret Kirwin has always been an advocate for mental health, but heading into his fourth Ontario Hockey League season, he wanted to do more, joining McFadden’s Movement as a MM27 Ambassador.
Following a season that wasn’t short of emotional challenges, the Barrie, Ontario native opens up about the unexpected six-player trade that sent the 2000-born forward from Guelph to Owen Sound in January 2019.
“I know for me, my past experience, back in January I got traded from Guelph and obviously I became really close to Guelph, made some great friends and met some awesome people and I grew to love the city,” Kirwin explained. “To have that taken away from you and having to move to another place, and really just start a new chapter, it’s really tough, especially in the span of less than 24 hours.”
In dealing with one of the biggest changes he’s faced yet, Kirwin also talks about the importance of reaching out, and how making someone feel welcome can make the difference.
“Talking to my family and close friends, and really staying in touch with them,” Kirwin offered, adding that the Attack organization helped make him feel comfortable right away. “Especially in Owen Sound, the guys on the ream really welcomed me with open arms and really helped me through the situation.”
Now, as a MM27 Ambassador, Kirwin wants to help others who might be going through a struggle of their own take that first, too.
After playing two seasons together with the Storm, Garrett McFadden is proud to have Kirwin join the Movement.
“Barret has always been an awesome teammate and friend around the room,” McFadden said. “His charismatic attitude and willingness to make everyone feel comfortable have helped him in becoming a trusted teammate both on and off the ice.”
“I’m proud to have had him as a teammate, and I’m even more excited to have him on board as a MM27 Ambassador,” McFadden added.
For Kirwin, it’s about having the voice to make a difference.
“I think it’s important to be an Ambassador because it gives me a platform to guide people and guide myself to talk about it,” he explained. “McFadden’s Movement is a great non-profit organization that helps people… and [McFadden] is obviously doing something great for the community.”