Some of the NHL’s most celebrated athletes are trading in their hockey sticks for fishing rods to benefit mental-health programs in Kelowna.

From July 30 to Aug. 2, the Ladd Foundation, formed by New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd and wife Brandy, is hosting its third annual charity fishing event.

For $5,000, anglers get the chance to travel to British Columbia’s wildest fisheries and cast a rod with top NHL athletes.

Proceeds of the event are going to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna and the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.

Ladd’s passion for hockey is matched only by his passion for improving the lives of others. He was raised alongside intellectually and physically disabled foster siblings and family members and grew to appreciate the uniqueness and strength of these individuals. Their struggles and willpower have inspired much of his focus in charity work.

“We are passionate about giving back and creating positive effect on youth and (the) environment,” says Ladd.

The funds raised at the event will go to CMHA Kelowna’s latest initiative, Discovery College, which will offer educational courses to adults and youth as well through Foundry Kelowna.

“We are making Kelowna our off-season home, and after seeing the impact of this type of innovative model at CMHA Calgary, we are excited to be a part of launching this initiative here.”

Participants in the weekend will experience two days and three nights at the Fraser River Lodge and Tall Timber in Agassiz. Anglers will cast their rod under the guidance of premier angling outfitters Sturgeon Slayers.

Some of the NHL celebrities taking part in this year’s charity event include Ladd, Tyler Myers, Blake Wheeler, Troy Brouwer, Nick Leddy, Jason Demers and Derek Grant.

More information and registration can be found at http://laddfoundation.org/event/ladd-foundation-sturgeon-fishing-event.