Thousands gathered at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday morning to share memories and mourn the loss of Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of Ottawa Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson.
She died over the weekend after an apparent suicide. Her mother found her in the basement of the family home, according to a statement from the hockey team.
The public memorial, co-ordinated partly by the family and partly by the Senators hockey team, began at 10 a.m. ET and drew about 6,000 people to the arena, including classmates, friends and family.
Groups that provide support to youth:
- Child, Youth and Family Crisis Line for Eastern Ontario (1-877-377-7775)
- Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
- Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (613-260-2360)
Youth counsellors from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario were also expected to be on hand at Ashbury College, the private school where Daron was a student in Grade 9, to provide support to grieving classmates. She was an accomplished hockey player and a top student.
Friends and family spoke at the service about her selfless nature and said they wished they had done more to help her in her time of need.
Her parents, Luke and Stephanie Richardson, said they wanted to make the memorial a public affair to draw attention to mental health issues for youth.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has been a spokesman for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health for two years, said earlier this week he hoped talking openly about mental health issues might remove some of the stigma for youth and lead to treatment.
The family is asking that donations be made to the youth program of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.