It was a special day at Canlan Ice Sports this past Saturday as York University Lions men’s hockey player Kaleb Dahlgren hosted the third annual Dahlgren’s Diabeauties game while his squad hosted the Guelph Gryphons in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) regular-season action.
Dahlgren, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of four, has since become a major advocate for those with the illness by becoming a national ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and created the Diabeauties program to mentor children who suffer from the disease.
On Saturday, he was joined by four Diabeauties who got to participate in the on-ice festivities with him and had the chance to talk to him about living with diabetes. He also welcomed players from the HEROS Hockey program, where he volunteers weekly, and the Peewee AA Caledon Hawks hockey team, and had a meet-and-greet in the second period so he could connect with the children.
In addition to raising awareness of the disease, the event raised funds for JDRF, collecting a total of $350 from donations.
“I have so many people to thank for the success of the event,” Dahlgren said following the game. “Thank you to all who came out, donated and supported Dahlgren’s Diabeauties to raise awareness for diabetes. Thank you to the York Lions varsity staff for making this event spectacular, and Wild Wing for giving pregame meal gift certificates to the Diabeauty families. A special thank you to the men’s hockey program for being behind me and allowing me the opportunity to continue this program every year.”
Dahlgren, who is not yet cleared for contact while recovering from several serious injuries suffered in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, was able to participate in the warm-ups and took the ceremonial face-off with former Bronco Matt Kenney, who plays for the Gryphons. He also got to meet Guelph goaltender Brendan Cregan, himself a Type 1 diabetic.
Since 2017, 15 children ranging in ages from 6 to 15 years have officially been part of the Dahlgren’s Diabeauties program, with many more affected by Dahlgren’s work due to his involvement with JDRF and his presence at various Diabetes Canada Camps as a volunteer or special guest.