‘Shoulder Check’ organization raises money in memory of Darien teen who died by suicide
A fundraiser was held in Stamford on Thursday to raise money in memory of a 16-year-old from Darien. Professional hockey players were in attendance.
Hayden Thorsen’s message rang loud and true for the thousands in the crowd during the event.
“Everybody here in this building tonight is a founding member of the Shoulder Check. And there's a responsibility, or rather a call to action, that just says, ‘OK, what can I do with this? How can I spread and share it?'” said Rob Thorsen, Hayden Thorsen's dad.
All donning a blue patch on the shoulder, representing a different kind of “shoulder check” than on the ice -- more of a check-in, a helping hand. Something Hayden Thorsen was known for.
Friends, family and teammates said that is part of what made the news last year so devastating. Hayden Thorsen had taken his own life. More than a year later, the impact of his life is immeasurable.
“It seems like it's such a small task, you just send out a text just to really make sure your teammates are doing fine, your friends, everyone in your life is doing OK. Because I don't wish this pain that all of us feel on anyone,” said teammate Julian Brown.
Hayden Thorsen’s message made it all the way to NHL All-Stars.
“Darien, right here it's a really tight-knit community, especially in the hockey world itself. So, it's one of those things, to see how many people come out just tonight, just so supportive, it’s really special," Florida Panthers goalie and Darien native Spencer Knight said.
“You can see if you’re hurt physically sometimes, but mentally, it's very hard to see that and see the signs and know what someone's going through," New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said.
“Being mature is about checking in, it’s about talking about your feelings, it's about looking out for the people around you, and as well as yourself, and communicating," said New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider.
Rob Thorsen said this is the first event of what they hope to be many.