McFadden’s Movement, created by Garrett McFadden in September 2016, is a nonprofit organization in support of mental health that strives to change, help, and develop mental health among athletes starting at the grassroots level. Heading into his fourth season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm at the time, McFadden recognized he had a story to share that goes well beyond a 200-foot ice surface. In major junior, the Kincardine, Ontario native became an OHL Champion as a 16-year-old rookie in 2014, pushed through an injury riddled sophomore season, held a leadership role on a struggling, young squad through the 2015-16 campaign, and became the 27th captain in Storm history. Since, McFadden pushed through a postsecondary playing career with Acadia University during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now the captain of the ECHL’s Reading Royals.
Drawing on his own challenges, while also directly affected by the loss of a close family friend, Wes Cameron, in 2011, McFadden wants to make a change, starting at the beginning. With the Movement, McFadden creates a connection with minor athletes and youth by highlighting not only the pressures of sport, but also the significance of talking about mental health when it comes to the day-to-day struggles that anyone and everyone can face in hopes of changing the stigma.
Since the start of the Movement, McFadden has been hosted by various minor hockey and sports teams, as well as schools where he has discussed his personal introduction to mental health and the obstacles he’s faced both on and off the ice. Adding to his talk, and paired with his SafeTalk training, McFadden partners with a local Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) professional with each presentation to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved. McFadden also welcomed over 34 MM27 Ambassadors to the Movement during the 2017-18 season.
In addition to raising awareness, McFadden started fundraising for mental health resources, including WES for Youth Online, a free online counselling service created in memory of Wes, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo-Wellington branch in order to give back to the city and community of Guelph. On March 17, 2017, McFadden made the Movement’s first donation, presenting $3,000 to each association prior to the Storm hosting the Sarnia Sting. McFadden and the Movement then followed up the inaugural donation efforts with back-to-back $20,000 donations in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, the Movement managed to hit the adjusted goal of $10,000 donated despite the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19. In 2021, McFadden and the Movement donated $20,000 once again, in addition to $1200 donated to CMHA Nova Scotia division. The Movement hit a new milestone in 2022, donating a $25,000. To date, the Movement has raised over $103,000 and counting for mental health resources.