Winnipeg Jets exec talks mental health with Red River College students

RRC welcomes Craig Heisinger (Zinger) as part of Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative

Winnipeg, MB – Today, Winnipeg Jets senior executive Craig Heisinger (Zinger) traded the local hockey arena for an auditorium full of Red River College (RRC) students and staff, eager to hear his personal connection with mental health and why it is so important to keep the conversation going.

Heisinger’s visit is part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, which was established four years ago with a goal to create a healthy college community, to better meet the mental health needs of the students, staff, and faculty, and to enhance mental health literacy within the College.

“Events like this are an integral part of our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative because it lets those who may be struggling know they are not alone, and there are supports available. Mental illness knows no boundaries – it affects all of us, from post-secondary students, to NHL hockey players,” said Breanna Sawatzky, RRC Mental Health Coordinator. “We are honoured to have such a well-known and respected member of the hockey community, and the mental health community here today to help us keep the conversation about mental health awareness on campus going.”

Craig Heisinger (Zinger) is the Senior Vice-President & Director, Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. He was also very close with Manitoba Moose forward Rick Rypien who struggled with mental illness and ultimately died in a tragic event. Rick’s legacy lives on through the True North Youth Foundation, Project 11, and Zinger, who visits countless local schools every year sharing Rick’s story and raising awareness for mental health.

“Every time I have the opportunity to speak to schools about mental wellness it helps remove the stigma,” said Heisinger. “I commend Red River College for their commitment to mental health awareness among students and staff on campus. The Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative provides the tools and supports for students to practice their own positive mental health, and to know that they can reach out for help when needed – this is a true sign of strength.”

All students, staff and faculty members were invited to the event, which was held over the lunch hour at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus and live-streamed to the greater College community. Those in attendance were treated to a self-care pizza lunch sponsored by the RRC Students’ Association.