Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
After head coach Dominique Ducharme tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the Montreal Canadiens turned to assistant coach Luke Richardson to lead the team hours prior to the start of Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights. The team pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory over Vegas and now lead the series 2-1. For Richardson, the win meant even more to him as he dedicated his first career NHL victory as a head coach to his late daughter.
Richardson always wears a purple lapel pin and bracelet in memory of his daughter Daron, who took her own life in November 2010 at the age of fourteen. Along with his wife Stephanie, they created “Do It For Daron,” a movement to “transform youth mental health.” Daron’s close friends and classmates supported and joined the initiative with the mission of creating awareness and inspiring conversations about mental health issues among young people.
Announced on February 2, 2011, DIFD was created while Richardson was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators before joining the Canadiens in July 2018. The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, the Sens Foundation, and the Senators worked with the family for the movement.
Photo: Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun
Richarson told NHL.com in December 2017 that the subjects of mental health and suicide were “starting to get a little bit of traction now and people are starting to feel more comfortable talking about it, but it’s still not there.”
“If something is bothering you, reach out to someone, whether it’s a friend, or a teacher, a coach or someone in your family and just talk about it,” Richardson said. “It’s really just bringing awareness, especially to the youth, and making them feel a little bit more comfortable about talking about their feelings but knowing they aren’t the only one that feels like that and that there’s help out there if you do talk about it.”
If you would like to donate to Do It For Daron, please click here.
In Friday’s postgame press conference, Richardson said he is “very proud and happy for the guys” and how “exciting” it was to get his first career NHL win while in charge of the bench. The Canadiens will look to extend the series lead against the Golden Knights on Sunday at Bell Centre. NBCSN will have the coverage of Game 4 beginning at 8 PM ET.
By Della Young