On occasion I will be featuring interviews with various people involved in the hockey community. Guests will include current Junior, College and Professional players; coaches, instructors and mentors; scouts, advisers and anyone else willing to share their thoughts. If you would like to be featured in my blog, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include ‘Interview Feature’ in the subject.
My guest for this post is Jim Stanaway and hails from my hometown of Marquette, Michigan. He is currently the Head Coach of the Marquette Royales Junior A hockey team participating in the Unites States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). He is the owner and founder of Goalies, Inc. and American Hockey Academy.
Mike Lowery: When did you start your two businesses?
Jim Stanaway: We are into our 8th year of goalie camps with Goalies Inc. We have expanded from 1 camp our first year with 9 goalies to having 10 camps all over the Midwest with 20+ goalies at each including location. We are also working with many associations all over Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
M.L.: Why did you start Goalies, Inc.?
J.S.: Goalies Inc., started with the objective in mind to make camps affordable for everyone. We have never turned away clients due to financial restrictions. We have always been able to find a way to make sure that our professional instruction is something that everyone is able to participate in, regardless of the financial standing of the family.
M.L.: What are your goals, mission statement, vision, etc.?
J.S.: I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do. It’s been pretty surreal, I still have to pinch myself after these camps to make sure that these are still real. I sometimes find it hard to believe I am really able to travel around teaching my system of goal tending to hundreds of goalies per year. Not to mention we have fantastic instructors. There is no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be where we are without our core group of instructors. Most of who have been with Goalies, Inc. since day one. On top of all that, we have great families involved. The amount of time that these families commit to our programs is amazing. I cannot put into words how special the families are that are involved in Goalies, Inc. It’s absolutely amazing to me and everyone with Goalies, Inc. owes the world to them. I have developed our power skating school; for skaters, American Hockey Academy under the same morals and goals as Goalies, Inc.
M.L.: How did you start playing/get involved in hockey?
J.S.: Marquette has a hockey culture, however, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t start actually playing organized hockey until about 7-8 years old. I have two older brothers that played forward and my dad used to build a rink outside our house. Growing up, being the youngest, my brothers used put me in the net. Sometimes with or without gear on, then shoot pucks at me. I guess being a goalie just came natural after that. From my first team as a mite I immediately wanted to play goalie. I played one game and got a shut out; I still remember making saves in that game 23 years later. After that I was hooked.
M.L.: What are the biggest challenges you currently face with your career in hockey?
J.S.: I think being honest with myself and my situation is important when faced with adversity. I would say the biggest challenge is being pulled in several directions daily. Finding balance in the madness has been a key to staying sane and being productive. Every day is a new challenge in one way or another, but I think it builds character. Whether I make good decisions or bad, hopefully I learn from it all, soak it all in, and enjoy it while it lasts.
M.L.: What are some of your biggest accomplishments to date?
J.S.: I am not one to dwell on personal accomplishments. I am not a big person on wins and losses. Maybe I have not hit a point in my professional career where wins and losses mean something yet. Player development is a passion of mine. I think the best part of being a coach / mentor is seeing the kids I coach find success. With my team I stress the importance of what hard work and being positive can do for a team / individual. Being positive is contagious. It’s not always easy to find the positive from every situation but that is a part of how my players develop into adults. I teach them to be a better person / player each day, each shift, and with every opportunity. I want to try to convey to my players the importance of being a good person as much as being a good player. Seeing players reach their goals such as playing NCAA hockey, becoming role models for younger kids, and helping these players achieve success is a great feeling. The countless emails/ messages I’ve gotten about how great the goalies are playing or games they won…etc… it’s amazing that they think of me when they find success. If someday these opportunities come to an end for me that would be the part I would miss the most.
M.L.: If you could change anything about your career up to this point, what would you change?
J.S.: Hindsight is 20-20. I could knit pick my own mistakes and downfalls but we all have them. I try to do better each day and be a better person each day. We all make mistakes but how we react to those mistakes is what defines us.
M.L.: What are some of the best things you have learned about the game?
J.S.: That it is just a game. It can take you places but it can’t define who you are unless you let it. Work hard, put in the time and commit yourself to training but don’t let it consume who you are. You might be a professional hockey player when you grow up or you might be a business professional, but who you develop into along the way will be what people really remember you by.
M.L.: What are some of the things you have learned that you can use outside of the game?
J.S.: Everything – good and bad. Hockey is a unique sport that it’s not just a game, but a lifestyle. If you surround yourself with the right people and right coaches then they can really help you develop into the person you become. I have really been fortunate in my hockey career to have great people, teammates, and coaches surround me. I will never be a professional hockey player but that is OK. I am and will be a professional business person after hockey is over for me.
M.L.: What are your future goals in the game of hockey?
J.S.: I am currently a full-time student. I’m a biology major with a physiology concentration. I also have a German language minor as well. After I get my degree, I think the ultimate goal is working with player development somewhere. I like the individual interaction and seeing the improvements of each player. Maybe utilize my degree in the hockey world somehow.
M.L.: Who and what have been your biggest influences to get you to this point in your career?
J.S.: I really notice when people work hard. My dad worked hard for everything he has and provided for us growing up. It’s something I noticed as I grew up. Outside of hockey you can look around and see amazing motivational things every day. I think that is where my head is at; I want to be someone that works hard and lead by example. I see others work hard and find success and that motivates me. I think the only restrictions we face are ones we place on ourselves.
M.L.: What do you like to do in your spare time?
J.S.: Spare time? Off-season? What’s that? I am a gym rat. There have been times when I jump in dry-land training with my team or go to the gym with a few of them to workout.
M.L.: What are your future goals outside of hockey?
J.S.: Obtain a Physician’s Assistant degree.
M.L.: Can you provide me with some advice to share for the next generation of hockey players?
J.S.: Being a good person is as equally important as being a good player, regardless of what level you play at. One person I like to refer back to is a guy I am fortunate enough to know. Bobby Robins. He played at the highest level you can play in the world for the NHL’s Boston Bruins. He is one of the most humble and gracious guys I have ever met. I recommend taking a look at his facebook page as he’s a very motivational person.
M.L.: Favorite Five: Pregame Meal?
J.S.: I actually didn’t like to eat much directly before a game. Usually 4-5 hours before I’d eat something, nothing in particular. I just wanted to make sure it didnt sit heavy in my stomach. I would also concentrate on properly hydrating myself.
M.L.: Player of All-Time?
J.S.: Manny Legace
M.L.: Pro Hockey Team?
J.S.: Detroit Red Wings
M.L.: Hockey Memory?
J.S.: On my off weekends I play in a league here in the Midwest called the Great Lakes Hockey League. It is a traveling full check adult league. A lot of ex- college / ex-pro players in the league. Two seasons ago I played in Eagle River, WI in an old dome in front of 3,500-4,000 inebriated fans. I think we lost by a goal but being out there in that atmosphere while 4,000 people sung the national anthem was something special.
M.L.: Place to play?
J.S.: I am pretty old school and like old rinks. The Dee in Houghton, MI and/or the Armory in Calumet, MI. I also have a place in my heart for the rink I grew up playing on; Lakeview Arena in Marquette, MI. Ironically, this is the home rink of the team I coach as well.
Thank you for the great advice Jim and taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I wish you the best in your hockey career and academics. Good luck this season!