Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman and 12-year NHL veteran Brent Sopel is hosting a hockey clinic in Bolingbrook, Ill., this weekend to benefit dyslexia research and training in association with the Brent Sopel Foundation.
Sopel, along with his daughter Lyla, live with the learning disability dyslexia, which affects ones ability to interpret words, letters, numbers, and other symbols. The hockey clinic takes place this Saturday at the Rocket Ice Skating Rink and includes a youth hockey session, a skating session for the Dyslexia Buddy Network, and concludes with a “Play with the Pros” game.
Along with Sopel, other NHL players expected to participate in the camp are fellow former Chicago Blackhawks and Stanley Cup Champions Daniel Carcillo, Adam Burish, Ben Eager, and Brad Lukowich. Also expected are Chicago-area NHL pros Ryan Hartman of the Blackhawks and Ryan Dzingel of the Ottawa Senators.
Sopel in recent months has brought to the public his struggles with dyslexia through online videos and a hard-hitting ‘Players’ Tribune’ article back in March. In the article, Sopel detailed his difficulties coping with his mental health and the realization that he and his family were affected by dyslexia.
“I started this foundation because I never want another kid to feel the way I do each day...Kids are the future of the world.” says Sopel in an interview for NHL.com.
Through the clinic and working beyond this weekend, Sopel hopes that more teachers in more classrooms will be able to recognize learning disabilities in children and get them the proper help as early as possible.
Sopel last played in the NHL in 2011 and retired from professional hockey after a season with the Chicago Wolves in 2014-15. Since 2013 and after his playing career ended, Sopel started working on a broadcasting career, working with NBC-Chicago covering the Chicago Blackhawks and also as a Hockey analyst with digital media outlet 120 Sports, based in Chicago.