Back in the summer of 2000, I was just completing my first year as an assistant men’s soccer coach at the University of Vermont. Between sessions of summer camp, I often ducked out of the heat by having lunch in the cool confines of UVM’s famed Gutterson Field House, watching some of the planet’s best ice hockey players playing summer pickup games. Olympians and NHL champions such as John LeClair, Aaron Miller, Tim Thomas, and Patrick Sharp honed their skills in these games, and I had quite the front row seat.
Yet in the summer of 2000, there was a player who not only caught my attention for what he did on the ice, but what he did off it.
He was not an NHL star. In fact, at the age of 25, he had just been released by the Calgary Flames. All the experts had deemed him not worthy, after trying for years to change his game to a more “NHL style” game. He was an undersized forward without a team, and it looked to everyone that his hockey career might be over.
Everyone, that is, except to the person who mattered most: HIM!
He had not given up hope. Read More