Making it to the NHL is every young boy’s dream.
It was mine, too.
Growing up, I gave the game everything I had—literally.
Thousands of hours on the ice.
Thousands more in the gym.
Early mornings, late nights, long bus rides across the country, countless injuries and a ton of blood, sweat—even tears.
Heck, I still have trouble lifting my arms over my head because my shoulders are shot.
Still, I didn’t make it.
What a complete waste of energy that was.
Or was it?
If you judge based on outcome, sure—you can call my hockey career a failure. I never played a minute in the NHL.
In fact, I didn’t even come close.
But if you judge based on life experience, well then I’m a decorated champion.
That—to me—is worth more than anything in the world.
You see, there’s so much more to hockey than making it to the show. Sure, it’s the ultimate goal and I believe it should remain your ultimate goal as a hockey player.
There’s nothing I would have liked more than to make it and play alongside my childhood heroes…
But throughout my hockey career, I learned life skills that will take me further than the NHL ever could.
And that’s because hockey gave me the tools needed to succeed as an individual—not just as a hockey player.
Hockey helped build my character
Most importantly, hockey helped build my character.
It taught me the true definition of work-ethic.
There are no days off once you get to the competitive level. Every player in the league is trying to beat you. Trying to be better than you. Trying to take your spot.
Even your teammates.
Work ethic is the only way you get by, and I had to rely on it so much over my career that it’s now engraved in my character.
This work ethic shines through in all that I do now in my everyday life—all thanks to my hockey career.
Then there’s perseverance.
All the ups and downs I’ve experienced throughout my career have taught me the true definiton of perseverance.
From being a healthy scratch for a half-season to becoming an instrumental part of my team and later going on to win two championships, I’ve had to battle through a ton of adversity along the way.
I now know what it means to persevere beyond adversity.
This new sense of perseverance shines through in all that I do—all thanks to my hockey career.
Then there’s leadership.
Over the years and through the different challenges I’ve had the opportunity to face, I learned to rise up and lead.
I learned how to inspire others, making myself and everyone around me better.
This new acquired skill of inspiring others and helping them become better versions of themselves shines through in all that I do—all thanks to my hockey career.
But that’s not all hockey outside of the NHL did for me…
Hockey introduced me to life-changing people
Hockey put me in front of people that had the power to change my life.
Teammates. Coaches. Mentors. Fans. You name it.
So many people made a positive impact on my life which molded me into the person I am today.
Guy Boucher, one of my greatest mentors, taught me that there’s no point in ‘just good enough’—that I should strive for greatness.
I now strive for greatness every day.
The teammates I met along the way are some of the greatest individuals I’ve ever met.
I went to war with them. I shared laughs & tears with them, and even shed blood for them, because I knew they would do the same for me when the time came.
They were with me during the losses and upsets, and also during the highs when we held trophies above our heads together.
They helped me forge memories I will never forget, and each and every teammate I’ve met along the way has made an impact on my life in some way or another.
Some went on to play in the NHL—others became coaches, doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners, and more.
Thanks to my hockey career, I have an amazing network of people I call my close friends, and I know they’re there to help me if I need something—they too, know that I am there for them when they need me.
With such a great support system, I cannot fail—and I have my hockey career to thank for that.
But that’s not all hockey outside of the NHL did for me…
Hockey gave me the opportunity to to do great things
Hockey gave me the opportunity to do things that some people only dream of.
Hockey allowed me to travel the world and see new places—i got to visit cities I never would have seen.
Hockey allowed me to write my name down in history—I engraved my name on two championship trophies, one being McGill’s first and only National Championship in over 130 years.
Hockey allowed me to earn a world-class education at the University of McGill—on a full scholarship.
And most importantly, hockey made me embrace competition. While I no longer compete in hockey, I treat every day like it’s game day—a chance to win and better myself as an individual.
This competitive mindset gave me the desire to go against the grain and start my own company fresh out of school.
Now I get to compete every day and help grow my business alongside my partners—my new teammates.
So no, I didn’t make it to the NHL.
But it all worked out in the end.
The point I’m trying to make here is this…
As a young player, you should definitely strive for the NHL. Who am I to tell you otherwise.
It was my dream too…
But just know that the game of Hockey will bring so much more to your life—regardless of whether or not you reach the NHL.
If you don’t make it, don’t feel defeated. The greatest game on earth has likely given you many tools & gifts you can use to make all aspects of your life exceptional.
What you’ll learn throughout your hockey career will give you such an edge over others in your every day life.
At job interviews…
In the office…
Facing tough challenges…
You name it.
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t make it.
Instead, just enjoy the ride.
Embrace what you learn along the way and run with it.
Who knows where it will take you.