Considering that this is my first blog post, I figured I would explain a little about how this came about.
I started playing hockey at the age of three and quickly took a liking to it. As a matter of fact, when this life of mine is over, I will probably be considered a hockey player longer than most other things.
Most kids in the town I grew up in played hockey. The winters were long and it was a great way to pass those times. From an early age, I felt I was pretty good at the sport and even though I was small, I still felt like I could excel.
Throughout childhood, hockey provided me with comfort, respect, and reason to continue to strive for my goals – to continue to chase dreams like a loose puck. That’s one thing you will learn about me very quickly. I am a dreamer. I am always searching for the next thing and have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
The dream of having an NHL career quickly faded, but I kept playing. By this time it was a part of me. I could and still can eat, sleep and breathe hockey. Anyone who has been around me for more than five minutes will be able to tell you that.
As an adult, I found myself going to college and graduating then finding a career in my field, Finance. It was the right thing to do. It is what is expected of you. That piece of paper and that career that you work for 40 years. It’s expected. That’s what society leads you to believe.
I hated my job at the bank. It wasn’t the work itself, it wasn’t my co-workers, it was simply the feeling of being stuck inside an empty box. You wake up, put on a random shirt and tie, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat.
At this time I was still playing hockey in the GLHL for the Calumet Wolverines. I was finding it irritating that I had to take time off of work to participate in the road games and then see nine other guys on the bench with me. After speaking with my Aunt Crystal and Uncle Derrick, they convinced me to coach my cousins Peewee A travel hockey team. At this point I finally felt like I had control.
I said yes and the marriage to coaching hockey began. I was back to enjoying it again and it was a breath of fresh air. Working with the next generation of hockey players gave me so much energy and enthusiasm that I didn’t want to stop. To this day when hockey season is over, it is very hard for me to say goodbye to my players.
As the winters came and went, I found myself coaching every chance I got. Finally, my dream career as a firefighter was awaiting me. I told myself I would take a year off of coaching and make sure I made it through the fire academy and was the best firefighter I could be. The academy ended in October. By the end of November I was behind the bench of a club high school hockey team.
Hockey in Wisconsin is different than in Michigan. In Michigan the hockey style is hard-nosed, dump and chase hockey where you punish the other team. That was the system that I had come from and watching high school players complete a total of 8 hits in a period was frustrating for me.
I decided to once again take the ‘bull by the horns’ and fully entrenched myself into the organization. I sacrificed my weekends, my off days, even working my fire schedule around games and practices. Once again I felt like I was in control. I coached my team in the winter, ran summer camps and garnered some private lessons. All of which I am grateful for. Especially the private lessons. Building a name for yourself by sheer word of mouth is something that I will always be humbled by. I remember the first time I was asked if I did private lessons. I was taken back. I was in shock, amazed. This person really wanted me? If it wasn’t for those connections I made and the growth of those lessons, I may not have the confidence to sit here and write this today. I coached for four years and made my way to Texas for what I considered a better firefighting opportunity. Once again, it was hard to say goodbye. I had a second family, my hockey family and I was leaving them behind.
Since that time, needless to say I have not been in control of much. If you take anything from my blog posts, you will understand that I tell it like it is. I won’t sugar coat anything I post and speak truly from my heart.
I didn’t feel as if I had a purpose and that person who once dreamed big was slowly dying inside. I needed a way out. I needed a vent, an avenue, a medium. I needed a calling. After all this time, what was the one thing that had always been there for me, held my hand in difficult times, was a shoulder to cry on? You guessed it, hockey.
Hockey has and will always remain more than just sport to me. There were times when I was absolutely depressed, didn’t know what to do, but kept going because I had practice later that night. There were times when I felt like it was me against the world, but I fought because I looked forward to the weekend games.
Hockey was a life form for me. It was a relative, someone in my family, a close friend. Whenever I needed it, it was there. It was so much for me. One of the things that I strive to do and continue to take with me through this new journey and challenge is to remember this; you never know the effect you have on someone at any given point in life. Someone may read this very post and these words I type may be enough to keep them fighting. They may read a book I write and get interested enough in this sport to have it be there for them like it was for me.
You never know the other’s persons situation, you never know where they come from and you never know where they are going. Sharing my insights into something that I am passionate about is merely giving back to the game. It’s never asked for anything in return, but I was told at a young age that if something gives to you, you reciprocate.
For that reason I chose to finally take control of my life and devote myself fully to my true passion. I call myself a coach, instructor, mentor, consultant and ambassador because through this journey I will be all of them and hopefully so much more.
I would like for you to take this journey with me and if something strikes a chord with you, feel free to leave a reply or send me a personal email. I will always return emails and take note of comments made to my posts.