Season 2 Episode 12 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; “Huskies Let’s Talk” This week Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath, and Matt Cavender were joined by Mark Wick, an assistant hockey coach at Augsburg University in Minneapolis and a mental health advocate. This week we took another detour from our normal format with #BellLetsTalk Day coming up on January 28, 2021 and limited material with MTU’s COVID issues to discuss the challenges men face with mental health along with some of our more usual topics. Here’s a run down of the topics we discussed:
- Mark’s Background (4:18)
- Social Media Issues (18:25)
- The Loss of Maneet (26:51)
- College Hockey (41:06)
- Listener Questions (53:00)
- Joe Shawhan Hour Highlights (60:19)
- LSSU Preview (63:48)
- Predictions (69:57)
TW: This story deals with the subjects of depression and suicide. If you, or anyone you know, experience suicidal thoughts, you can contact the National Suicide Hotline by phone (1-800-273-8255) or text (send HOME to 741741).
Our special guest, Mark Wick, thanks us for our willingness to tackle this topic and shares his deeply personal journey through addressing his mental health problems. After a game in Oswego, NY, Mark found himself on a bridge ready to take the jump because he thought that everybody would be better off without him; his wife, his kids, his team, everybody. Obviously this isn’t true, but Mark had a tough time seeing that at the time. At the conclusion of St. Scholastica’s home season, Mark found himself in an altercation with the other coach on the ice. This caused quite the scene, causing his wife to show up. She came into the locker room and said that that this was the wakeup call he needed to begin his journey to recovery. He took a leave from the team and started his journey into counseling.
Mark has decided to be very public about his journey in order to make something good come out of it. He believes that getting help is one of the strongest things that you can do and that going to seek mental health treatment should be no different than going to the doctor. He hopes that being so public with his battles gives others the encouragement they need to understand that they’re not alone and seeking help is a sign of strength.
Mark is an extremely kind and well-spoken man. His words carry a lot of strength and he isn’t afraid to tackle some difficult conversations in a variety of settings, including with our own staff. He even says himself, he’ll talk to anybody who listens.
To learn more about Mark’s mental health journey and how he used hockey and golf to heal, here is a great article from the Duluth News Tribune about him.
Social Media Issues
Social media and mental problems can be a hard thing to navigate. When you go online, you’re essentially seeing everybody’s highlight reel. For instance, you won’t see Tim posting about how sad and lonely he gets sometimes, especially during Covid, you’ll see him posting about making a snowman during the weekends he has his daughter.
Mark equates social media to a non-stop Christmas card. People want to portray the best parts of their lives, and that is what gets put online. In Mark’s playing days, the guys used to get on the bus and regardless of how the games went, the team would play cards together and have discussions. Later on, there was the option to watch movies on the bus and everybody would watch the same movie.
Now, kids going home on a 6 hour bus ride after a bad weekend are likely looking on social media to see other players achieving success or see comments from fans talking about their poor performance. It’s a rabbit hole that is very easy to go down.
Mark navigates this world by asking his players to pay attention to their social media time and to understand it’s just the highlights. For him personally, he maintains a small social media footprint. However, for the twitter savvy, he’s definitely worth a follow.
The Loss of Maneet
The loss of our dear friend Maneet Singh took an immeasurable toll on the Michigan Tech community and is a major reason we wanted to do this episode. Due to how fresh the situation was when we first discussed it, we didn’t want to reveal that Maneet died by suicide. We were all shocked at the time and we miss our gold-turbaned friend making Section L brighter during every home game.
It can come across a little strange that we talk about this situation in such a positive light now, but we here at Tech Hockey Guide see mental health advocacy as one of the best ways to honor Maneet. Since his passing, none of us have been afraid to be upfront about our mental health struggles. We wanted to do this episode because we wish we could’ve done more to help him, and we want to be able to help anybody that is struggling today make sure their story doesn’t take Maneet’s path. If in making this episode we can help one soul to go get the help they need, it was all worth it.
Mark wants us to think of Maneet’s death much like if somebody in the Misfits was lost to cancer. In both situations, people were lost due to an illness and that needs to be discussed and processed appropriately. One of the best ways to honor Maneet would be to recognizing his passing as such and not be afraid to talk about it. In Mark’s words, it’s not a comfortable a conversation, but losing somebody is never a comfortable conversation.
If you’re unfamiliar with Maneet’s story, here is the story we wrote closer to his death. Much like this week’s podcast, it’s a very heavy read.
During this segment, we talk about mental health in college hockey. Mark has seen his story used by many to reflect on whether or not it would be a good idea to begin getting mental health treatment. He also talks to his team regularly on very real terms about how they’re feeling on a day to day basis.
One of the major things that Mark points out is that we have to take responsibility for our own mental health. Until you’re ready to get help for yourself, help isn’t going to benefit you. The way that he spins it is that when you help somebody, you feel good doing it and it isn’t a burden. The same thing is true for you; you’re worth the help and somebody will enjoy giving you the help.
Overall, it’s important to continue to have hard conversations about mental health and to normalize it.
For those that don’t want to join in our heavy discussion, this is where we pick up with ordinary schedule.
Our question this week from the discord chat related to Seamus Donohue leaving for St. Cloud. “The Troll” asked: “…[I’m] curious how if on the one hand nobody has a problem with grad transfers, they’ve earned their degree, done their time and should be free to move on. Then why do you guys on the other hand keep laying Seamus Donohue leaving on Shawhan? Seamus was a grad transfer, earned his degree and moved on.”
This was a really valid criticism of our reporting on the situation around players on the move to and from Tech. Rob’s answer as to why it’s interesting is because he was in a leadership position on the team, his leaving hits the fanbase a little bit harder. Other than that, this was a really well-placed callout.
Tim blames Shawhan because he thinks that Donohue should’ve been such a top-core defenseman for Tech again this year, but perhaps public tensions between him and Shawhan boiled over and resulted in him leaving.
I, on the other hand, find the player-coach relations to be little more than speculation. I think on this one we’ve just got to put our hands up and say “you got us.” That was a great criticism on our reporting to take into account going forward.
Joe Shawhan Hour Highlights
Ryland Mosley is coming into play at Tech this semester. His junior league isn’t playing, if he plays this semester at Tech it doesn’t count against his eligibility, and it creates some more competition for ice time. Overall, he should be a great addition to the team whether he sees the ice this semester or not. Hopefully this leads to a Carleton Place connection, as that team tends to produce some decent talent.
The Lakers are coming to Houghton this weekend on the back of a 6-3-3 record. They are counting their games against Adrian in those wins, so at the DI level they’re 4-3-3. Last weekend there was a period where Minnesota State outshot Lake State 29-7, but the score was even.
The Huskies have grown a lot since the last time they faced the Lakers, but the Lakers are a hard team to judge this year. The series should certainly shape up to be interesting.
Just like usual, all the member of the podcast and myself offer our predictions for the weekend. You’ll have to tune in to hear what we said.
A prediction you can make at home though, am I a regular member of the podcast now? Stay tuned next week to find out.
Cut For Time
This week’s cut content includes discussion on sea shanties, experiences podcast members had with studying with members of the football team, the funky reschedule Tech has down the stretch, and more you’ll have to subscribe to our Patreon to find out!
In September 2019, Tim wrote a column on this subject a few months after the loss of Maneet and around the time of a Suicide Awareness Walk in the UP. To read that column again, you can check out Huskies Let’s Talk.
For additional information and more episode liner notes, check out our episode overview on Tech Hockey Guide. To make sure we can afford all our fancy equipment we purchased for the podcast and the THG website in general, please check out our patreon page and consider joining. Patrons at our Black Level or above receive an authentic MTU jersey patch and access to extra podcast content including extended versions of our other episodes. This week’s extended version is nearly 83 minutes.
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