By Sam Cheema
Before starting DEPTOFSWEAT and moving to NYC full time, I went through a pretty intense hiring process. At the final hurdle I didn’t get the job. I wasn’t disappointed, it is what it is, but it got me thinking about my peers in a similar position at the end of their careers/season or life.
Hockey is a game that not many people know, experience or understand. But, it teaches you lessons to last a lifetime. It shapes, moulds and educates you for who you become. It isn’t just a sport.
Why should anyone hire a Hockey Player?
They are just knuckle-dragging Neanderthals playing a white collar game.
Courageousness. Watch a game of Hockey you will see guys/gals diving in front of 100mph shots. You will see them getting drilled into the boards. For what?
No. For the common goal. To lay their body, mind and wellbeing on the line for the objective at hand: Win.
Selfless. I have seen guys/gals who have given up their roster spot for a better player. I have seen a 2-on-0 breakaway pass to their teammate for a sure fired goal. They raise their teammates up. They’d rather someone else achieve greatness before themselves.
Humility. TJ Oshie once was labeled a ‘Hero’ by the media after his performance in the Olympics. His response “No, the real heroes are the ones in camo”. Hockey players don’t want the spotlight. They don’t seek out attention. They look to talk about the group, ‘we’, and ‘us’ before ever saying ‘I’.
Creativity. After all the practices and countless repetitions, they react in split seconds during the game. They come up with plays on the fly. Yes, there are systems and set-up plays. But, 99% of what happens on the ice is reactive. You react to the game. You create something out of nothing.
Take a punch. You’ve seen the fights. You probably love them. But, this isn’t a barbaric ritual. This is about a rite of passage. You take the punch for the rest of the group. You take it to answer the bell. You don’t shy away. You come to terms and deal with what the game throws your way. You don’t pass the buck onto someone else. You truly stand up to be counted and when it’s all said and done: You’ll be right there the next night.
Mindset. In a hockey players mind there is nothing else. During those sixty minutes they fixate and hone in on the task at hand. They don’t deviate.
But, the game before the game is where the strong win. They prepare mentally. They go through routines and study their opponents. They get mentally ready for the task at hand.
Work-ethic. They skate till they puke. They spend whole summers training for the season. They miss countless parties, hangouts and dinner socials. They travel across the country and leave home. They train till midnight and wake up with the rest of the world. They get it. They get the process. And, they’ll work their tooth and nail to get better.
Resilience. They’ve probably been cut. They haven’t gotten the spot on the team or they’ve sat on the bench. Every hockey player has done this. Every single one. But, they go back to their training or gym. Work harder and develop to overcome their shortcomings. They don’t dwell. Seeking feedback, they get right to it. They bounce back.
The ultimate thing they believe.
Every game is our last.
Silently we all understand that every time you hit the ice it could be your last. That it can all be taken away. We get it.
So we leave it all out there. We play to play. We give it every fibre of our being. We get beat up for the moment that the sport has provided us.
If you a hire a hockey player. You aren’t just hiring a qualified person. You are hiring a loyal beyond reason team member. They will fight through anything. They will stand-up for the organization. They will give you everything they got.
They will lead.
Because, this is all they know.