WINNIPEG -- A hockey team in Stonewall, Man., took to the ice on Tuesday evening with a symbol on their sticks to help destigmatize mental health issues.

The Stonewall Jets are taking part in the ‘Buddy Check for Jesse’ initiative, a program in which players put green tape on their sticks to help support mental health.

Coaches on the participating teams also give speeches to encourage players to support each other.

This initiative is named after Jesse Anders Short-Gershman, who died from suicide at the age of 22.

“It’s a really simple initiative,” said team captain Carson Ouellette.

“You’re just wearing green tape and what it does is it creates a ripple effect.”

Normally, program organizers go to hockey tournaments to sign teams up, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve had to reach out to teams on an individual basis.

Brock Couch, head coach of the Stonewall Jets, said the program is a great idea.

“Hopefully that sparks a conversation in somebody’s day,” he said.

“That’s all we’re trying to do is bring more awareness to mental well-being in the game of hockey.”

Any teams interested in signing for Buddy Check for Jesse can do so online.