Before wearing the jersey, Jake Karabela grew up in Guelph, Ontario paying close attention to the Guelph Storm players then.
Those players included former Storm captain and McFadden’s Movement founder, Garrett McFadden. Karabela remembers the Movement’s presence in Guelph as he worked his way towards his own major junior career, and the overall footprint left by Storm players in the community.
“For me growing up, when I was a kid, McFadden would do those road hockey tournaments and them reaching out, as a younger kid, you look up to those guys and you always want to be like them,” Karabela said. “For them to do stuff in the community like that, makes kids feel special. As a Storm player now, because I went through that and got to experience them coming to schools and reach out, at the time it was really special, and now that I’m in my shoes now, I can give back.”
Now with that very same platform, Karabela – who was named a CHL Top Prospect through the 2021-22 season – recognizes the importance of using his voice to continue the mental health conversation as a new generation of MM27 Ambassadors begins in Guelph.
“We’re just like anybody else – we’re normal teenagers that love to play hockey. We have the same responsibilities, wanting to be better, we have goals… I think that there’s a lot of stress that comes with hockey and it’s not just the game,” the forward explained. “I think a lot of players might be hesitant to speak out. I think that we need to let people know that it’s okay to speak out, no matter who you are.”
“As a Storm player, it’s more than hockey,” Karabela said.