Brady Leavold has found purpose in life

Like many young hockey players who lace up their skates and take to the ice, Brady Leavold had a dream … to one day play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

It is strange however, how circumstances and choices in life can lead one down unsuspecting paths and, for Brady Leavold, the path took turns that led him in different directions.

On Thursday, March 9th (2023), he held an audience made up of all ages enthralled as he told the story of a young man whose dream of being a famous hockey player was dashed by circumstances and choices in life … it was his own story.

It began when he was the tender age of five years old when his parents divorced and he was traumatically abused by a family or friend of the family.  It was a secret that would affect his life and the choices he would make.

His hockey became an escape as he moved through the elite ranks of being drafted, being a rookie of the year, an MVP player … all the while, he felt he was running.

“I made the wrong choices,” says Leavold.  “I began drinking at 17 to party with older teammates … I went to a Music Festival and experienced my first drug, something I said I would never do.”

Through his teens and twenties, he began spiralling down the ‘rabbit hole’ of drugs until he was homeless, pushing a shopping cart with his belongings, in one of the most drug infested areas in the country – East Hastings Street in Vancouver and, finally, ending up in prison.

On Thursday, Leavold freely told his life story to the Port Elgin audience.  “Mental health and addiction go hand in hand.  I have been in recovery for three years and, every day, is still a struggle.  Statistics show us that 99 per cent of addictions are a result of trauma and I encourage parents to have conversations with their kids.”

                                            Young hockey players – For larger view, Click on Image

Leavold’s presentation was co-sponsored by WES for YOUTH, Saugeen Shores Minor Hockey and Bruce Power.  “I am not a counselor but I tell my story in the hopes it might help even one person out there.  I wish that someone had shared their story with me – I might have made different choices.  I’m just a guy who continues to struggle but now I talk about it.”

Today, he lives in Orillia (ON), has developed the blog Hockey 2 Hell and Back and his website, ‘for the love of the game‘ where he tells his story.

He has also recently developed a clothing line, Puck Support, with support from the hockey family, the Gilmours (Doug). “I designed the logo and learned how to do all the work on each piece.  Every item has the name of a player who has lost his life to drugs.”

Items ordered on-line from Saugeen Shores at Puck Support using the promo code ssmha will receive a 20 per cent discount and a portion of sales will go to WES for YOUTH.

“If I had had something like WES to turn to, my life might have been different. We need to be proactive and talk to the youth to empower them to reach out for help when they need it.  I have found purpose in what I am doing and being of service is something way greater.  As humans, we have a responsibility to show up and be there for each other.  Each of us has control over how we treat people.  I still have a lot to do but when I asked for help, it changed my life.”

   (L) Grayson Wolfe and Kai Bailey joined         Brady Leavold for a skate – photo by               Karly Johnson – for larger view click on image