This past Friday, the Mount Allison Women’s Hockey Team, in collaboration with the campus group MTA Gives Blood and the national organization Hockey Gives Blood (HGB), hosted a game against the UPEI Panthers in memory of Michael Steele, brother of Mounties forward Lauren Steele. Prior to the game, Lauren Steele was named a Hockey Gives Blood Ambassador, joining the likes of junior hockey star Connor Bedard and Olympian Emily Clarke. Hockey Gives Blood works in partnership with Canadian Blood Services to promote blood donation within the hockey community, making it a key component of hockey programs across the country.
Mt. A’s Women’s Hockey Team is the second university team to join Hockey Gives Blood and the fourth team in Atlantic Canada. Founded in 2021, MTA Gives Blood endeavours to educate and raise awareness about the importance of stem cell and blood donation on campus. MTA Gives Blood president SunMin Park noted that men’s teams make up the majority of those collaborating with Hockey Gives Blood and that “having the [Mt. A] team join as an HGB partner would help grow the number of women involved” and highlight female teams who are working together to help save lives.
Before the game, Lauren, a fourth-year student from Stratford, PEI, spoke about her brother Michael and his legacy as an organ donor. Michael was 26 years old and an aspiring Red Seal plumber at the time of his passing, a young man remembered for his kindness, generosity, and selflessness. Reflecting on her brother’s life, Lauren said Michael “always gave to others; it may have been a warm smile or a helping hand. I truly believe he just wanted people to feel good about themselves and not alone.” Lauren also told countless stories of Michael’s compassion, from pulling over his truck to help an elderly woman shovel her driveway to fixing his co-worker’s broken car door handle without being asked.
Following an eight-day battle in the Intensive Care Unit after a car accident, Michael’s final act was to give the greatest gift of all: he was set to be an organ donor for three people. The values Michael embodied in his life were reflected in his decision to become an organ donor, a deeply selfless and generous act. His sister Lauren hopes that Michael’s story inspires people to live as generously and selflessly as he did and encourages them to consider registering to be an organ and/or tissue donor. Lauren’s parents and her sister attended the hockey game in memory of Michael and participated in an honorary puck drop ahead of the game.
Many Mounties Women’s Hockey players donated blood for the first time at Sackville’s most recent community blood drive and more will be donating at the next blood drive on March 13. This blood drive will be in memory of Michael Steele and will also be promoting the “Be a Hero” campaign to recruit 17-35 year olds to join the stem cell registry. Visit blood.ca to book an appointment for the March 13 blood drive and to register intent to donate organs and tissue.