Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 19, 2004

U of G athletes, local radio team up to curb drinking & driving

Two University of Guelph varsity athletes have teamed up with local radio stations to help spread the word about the dangers of drinking and driving and reckless driving.

Katie Ennis, captain of the women’s hockey team, and Kyle Julius, one of the captains of the men’s basketball team, have recorded public service announcements for Guelph radio stations Magic 106.1 FM and 1460 CJOY. The messages, which began running this week, warn listeners of the hazards of combining alcohol and driving. They also urge people to obey speed limits and use caution when driving. The 30-second spots are airing several times a day.

“I think it’s a tremendous partnership,” said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs). “I am very impressed that our Department of Athletics and the local radio stations are collaborating to send such an important message. Varsity athletes can serve as strong role models.”

The public service announcements were written by Kevin Kelly, Magic FM’s program director. He said the initiative was prompted by recent road tragedies in the community and by the driving deaths of former NHL All Star Keith Magnusson and Atlanta Thrasher forward Dan Snyder. Snyder, from nearby Elmira, was known by several of the staff of the radio stations. “That was a contributing factor in wanting to do something to be sure that the message about the dangers of reckless driving was heard,” Kelly said.

"The Snyder/Heatley accident literally hit close to home and put a face on tragedy. By enlisting the help of the University of Guelph athletics department, we have been able to put a positive face and voice to the written words.”

Kelly chose Ennis and Julius because “Kyle is a well-known basketball player and Katie is one of the best women’s hockey players in the country. I wanted listeners to hear the voices of athletes they might know and recognize.”

The public service announcements focus on the importance of being a team player and making good decisions when behind the wheel of a car. “These announcements are one way that the Department of Athletics works with our local media partners to contribute to our community,” said Roberta Mason, acting athletics director.

“It’s our hope that young people especially will connect with the student athletes and really hear the critical messages they convey," she said. "Katie and Kyle's voices speak for more than 600 student athletes, all of whom make a tremendous commitment to excellence in sport and achieving their personal best.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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