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Luke Richardson retired in November 2008 after playing his last NHL game for the Ottawa Senators earlier that year. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

The suicide of Daron Richardson, daughter of Ottawa Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson, highlights the need to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, says the team's captain.

Flags at Ashbury College, where Daron was a student in Grade 9, hung at half-mast Monday. The 14-year-old was an accomplished hockey player and a top student.

"You think to yourself, what could we have done differently?" said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has been a spokesman for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health for two years. "Maybe it could have [been] prevented if it was more openly talked about — that's a big thing, the stigma. And that's one of the reasons I've been involved … is to try to bring it up and talk about it."

Daron's mother found her after she had hanged herself in the basement of the family home, according to a team statement.

"Daron was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where she remained in critical condition in ICU until she succumbed to her injuries," the statement said.

A public memorial will be held at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday, the team announced Monday.

Suicide prevention

Groups that provide support to youth:

Dr. Ian Manion, a mental health expert at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, said his research leads him to believe up to a third of teenage girls in Ottawa have considered suicide.

"This is a talented young person [who] had a very full life, and even a person with so much going for them can be suffering," said Manion.

'We really need to act'

Federal NDP health critic Megan Leslie said the government needs to do more to prevent suicide among youth. Unlike the United States and most other industrialized countries, Leslie said, Canada doesn't have a national strategy for suicide prevention.

"The very fact that we have a statistic that says that in Canada that youth age 10 to 24 that [suicide is] the second-highest cause of death … that's shocking," she said. "So we really need to act."

Leslie introduced a private member's bill on Nov. 5 calling for a strategy to bring down the suicide rate and to create national standards for suicide prevention programs.

The memorial for Daron is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday. The family is asking that donations be made to the youth program of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

Luke Richardson played 21 seasons in the NHL, finishing up in Ottawa where he retired as a player in 2008 and became assistant coach.