Thomas Skelton, assistant coach of the Fernie Ghostriders, is embarking on a ride across the Kootenays and Okanagan in an effort to raise awareness for mental health and the MindRight for Athletes Society run by Kelowna Chiefs alum Myles Mattila.

Thomas Skelton, assistant coach of the Fernie Ghostriders, is embarking on a ride across the Kootenays and Okanagan in an effort to raise awareness for mental health and the MindRight for Athletes Society run by Kelowna Chiefs alum Myles Mattila.

Ghostriders assistant coach cycling for mental health

His focus is the MindRight for Athletes Society run by Kelowna Chiefs alum Myles Mattila

This summer, Fernie Ghostriders assistant coach Thomas Skelton will hit the road on his bike to bring awareness to mental health.

His focus is the MindRight for Athletes Society run by Kelowna Chiefs alum Myles Mattila.

Skelton will leave Fernie and cycle to Kimberley during his first day. From there, day two will finish in Creston, then to Gray Creek, B.C. on day three. He will stay there for a night then hit the road for Nelson on day four.

Skelton will have a travel day to reach Kelowna, his home base, and the following day he will bike 16 kilometres every four hours for 48 hours in the Okanagan.

Skelton is looking to get all 12 legs of his ride sponsored and will bike every four hours starting at midnight, 4 a.m., 8 a.m. and noon. This plan will allow him to cover the two Kootenay International Junior Hockey League conferences in some form in a safe manner.

In his role with the Ghostriders, and also an elementary school vice-principal at Rocky Mountain Elementary School in Elkford, Skelton chose MindRight because of the work Mattila does and wants to do for athletes.

Skelton says “mental health is always a focus to make sure that stigma isn’t attached and that everyone is able to communicate about social-emotional health issues in a constructive way.”

“It’s an area I’m passionate about and it just seemed like a cause I’d like to contribute to in some way,” adds Skelton. “I can’t say enough good things about all he (Mattila) has done. Obviously, mental health is something near and dear to me, so with my involvement in our league and his, it just seemed like a great fit to raise awareness and funds for a great cause.

“I know that Mattila has done an awful lot in a very small time frame. It was a no brainer to try and collaborate to help MindRight continue to move forward and continue to do the great work they do.”

Mattila says he is fortunate to have Skelton support the MindRight initiative and feels it’s fantastic he wants to raise awareness surrounding mental health.

When approached by Ghostriders coach-GM Jeff Wagner and Skelton, Mattila wanted to support Skelton’s event any way he could.

“During COVID-19, there has been an increase in isolation and it has been difficult for many individuals,” says Mattila. “I believe this ride will help shine a light on the difficult subject and help give courage to individuals to speak up. Having an individual like Thomas take initiative and want to support the cause is tremendous.”

Mattila believes this event will help build community connections and networking opportunities to help raise awareness. Having Skelton bike through communities in the Okanagan region will help highlight positive initiatives during this difficult time.

Mattila says the year for MindRight has been difficult since the pandemic as it created a shortage of in-person fundraisers and gatherings. However, that hasn’t stopped the former Chief from working.

“I have been networking and planning to continue the Remembering Grant Sheridan Memorial Scholarship,” he says, adding he has one semester left of his Bachelor of Business degree studies and will use his knowledge to implement new programs and ideas when he is able to do so.

Skelton hopes to raise money for MindRight and is actively seeking sponsors to donate, including a clothing option.

Skelton began cycling during COVID-19 as a way to get exercise and it has grown from spin classes to more endurance based rides. Skelton believes this is a great way to try and get some exposure for MindRight and the league while doing something he enjoys. This also forces him out of his comfort zone for personal growth.

Skelton’s wife Lisa will be a huge support by his side, along with their kids Kinley, Gregory and Amelia. Lisa is a registered massage therapist who will help him along the ride.

Skelton anticipates the ride to be a grind, but he has been training with similar length rides and spin classes. Once he hits the road, “it will be an endurance ride like I’ve never been on before. I’m excited about the opportunity to grow as well as raise awareness and funds for such a worthwhile cause.”

Anyone who is interested in sponsoring Skelton during this journey may contact him at

Read: BCHL pos season will end without playoffs

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read