Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that no peace bond was issued against Monika Caryk.
Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda on Tuesday announced the launch of their new organization dedicated to bringing more anti-bullying initiatives to schools in the nation’s capital.
The Karlssons said the mission of the new charity, called Can’t Dim My Light, is to raise awareness about the effects that both bullying and cyberbullying have on youth and to “promote inclusion and compassion.”
For its first fundraising event scheduled for early September, the organization has partnered with Proud To Be Me, another anti-bullying Ottawa-based group established in 2011 that supports local associations and programs to help “create safe environments for children” and “empower and educate youth and their families.”
The Karlssons have been victims of cyberbullying. In March, an ugly online comment was posted on the hockey captain’s Instagram account after he made a post acknowledging the support he and Melinda received following their son’s death.
About two months later, his wife filed an application seeking an order of protection against Monika Caryk – the longtime girlfriend of one of his now-former teammates, Mike Hoffman.
In the application for a peace bond, filed May 4 in an Ottawa court, Melinda Karlsson alleged Caryk posted hundreds of derogatory online messages aimed at her and her husband.
Caryk and Hoffman deny the allegations. Caryk’s lawyer says the application was never served and no peace bond was issued.
In the media release on Tuesday, the Karlssons said all of the proceeds from their inaugural Walk of Light will be given to Proud To Be Me, who will use the funds to run six-week workshops and install so-called “buddy benches” in “deserving schools” in Ottawa.
“Buddy benches are a growing feature of school playgrounds where children can sit at recess if they are feeling lonely or sad, signalling to their peers that someone should join them and offer comfort,” the release said.
The two-kilometre Walk of Light will take place on Sept. 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Kanata Recreation Complex. The event is free to attend.
— With files from The Canadian Press