4 Life Lessons That Hockey Taught Me

4 Life Lessons That Hockey Taught Me

Hockey’s an unbelievable game.

Chances are that if you’re here reading this now, that you probably feel the same way.

I know I’ve talked about it before on here, in that most of the valuable life lessons and skills I have in my life today can be traced back to hockey.

My wife and I talk about it all the time as far as what are the most important lessons that we’ve taken away from sports. For me, I think there are four big lessons that I have taken away from hockey. And I also believe that if you can truly master these four principles, they will make you successful in not only hockey, but really anything that you decide to do.

  1. Confidence - The older I get and the more I coach, the more I realize that confidence is nearly everything. It’s something that I wish I had more consistently as a player, but is something that I see now as absolutely vital to success in whatever you want to do. Confidence and success I believe work hand in hand. The people that can find and build upon their successes are the people that are going to be building and growing their confidence. I know it can be a bit cliche but it’s totally true in that, if you don’t believe in yourself then how is anyone else supposed to? It’s something that we should all be working on everyday. Find success in the little things and constantly be building yourself up.

  2. Work Ethic - We live in a world where everyone is compared to everyone else. Where it’s easy to find excuses and want the glory without putting in the blood, sweat, and tears to get there. I think it’s become more socially acceptable to give up, or blame someone (or something) else when things don’t go your way. In reality, if you really want something in hockey, or life, you need to realize that it’s going to take a lot of work and it’s not going to be easy. The process of working to get what you want is what truly builds your character and helps define you as a person. Don’t short change yourself on that experience because you’re scared to work for something. Push through the pain and push through your limitations. That’s ultimately what will help you grow and become the person that you want to be. Just remember, there’s no short cut for hard work. If you try to find it, it will eventually catch up to you.

  3. Failure - Learning to overcome adversity is part of hockey, and more importantly, part of life. In my experience, the people that learn to deal and work through adversity are the ones that have the most success on the ice, and off. What do you do when things get tough and don’t go your way? Do you fold up and quit? Do you look for someone else to fight your battle for you? Or, do you stand in there, hold your head up high, and learn and grow from the experience. Success is not supposed to be easy and failure is part of it. In fact, I don’t think success is possible without failure. So when things don’t go your way and you get knocked down, get back up and keep grinding. If it’s something that you really want, you’ll look back and realize those moments that you kept moving forward are the ones that defined you.

  4. Teammates - A group on the same page is always more powerful than the individual. Just like hockey, in life, the successful people surround themselves with people who have different skill sets. It’s just how a hockey team can’t have 4 first line centers, but, if they have 4 lines that all know their role and work together towards the same objective they’re probably going to have a lot of success. Learning to work with a team is also a great teacher of humility and ego. The first advice I would give anyone looking to fit in with a team is to check your ego at the door. Realize that having the right attitude and putting the group goal at the foreground is the real way to create amazing success. The last bit that goes along with having teammates, is building relationships. It’s amazing the friends you can make and the opportunities that can present themselves by learning to work well with others and build relationships.

So while I know there are even more tremendous traits that hockey has taught me, I think that anyone who can master these 4 will definitely set themselves up for success in whatever they pursue.

And just like so many other things I’ve talked about on here, none of them take talent.

They all simply take an honest commitment from yourself. A desire to learn, work, and be great.

They all take work, and they all usually don’t come easy, but I can assure that they’re all worth it.

The One Question We All Need To Ask Ourselves


I think there’s a simple question that gets lost in the shuffle of hockey all the time.

We become so caught up in the routine that I think we forget to take a second and stop and think.

Do you actually want to do this?

I guess when you really stop and think about it, it’s a simple question to ask but a much harder question to answer for most.

It’s just like an onion where there are many layers. We all need to keep peeling back different sections to ultimately get to our answer.

I think it’s becoming all to common that players are getting to the realization that hockey at a high level is not something they are interested in pursuing anymore.

And you know what, that’s ok.

I think so many of us get caught up in the thinking that “I’ve been playing hockey for most of my life and the goal has always been to keep getting better, and making that higher team” that we forget to keep checking in with ourselves to see if that’s really what we want.

The truth is, I think a lot of players continue to play through their adolescence and teen years because it’s “simply what they do, and have always done.” And not necessarily because the love and drive of the game is what is fueling them to go to the rink everyday.

Or, they keep telling themselves that they want to play on that high level team, when in reality, they simply enjoy playing the game but don’t have the drive or desire to put in the necessary work to truly enjoy the experience.

The truth is, the higher in hockey you go, the more commitment, time, and sacrifice that it takes to be a part of it.

I think too often we don’t ask ourselves that simple question, and instead, just keep following our old routine, or trying to make our parents happy, or continue playing because that’s what our friends are doing.

The reality is, if your heart isn’t in it, then why are you doing it?

There’s no shame in coming to the realization that you don’t want to commit a huge chunk of your time, effort, and energy into something that your heart just isn’t passionate about.

That also doesn’t mean that you don’t still enjoy the game. It simply means that different areas of your life you are prioritizing more. And like I said above, that’s ok.

So I ask all of you to take a second and ask yourself the simple question, do you actually want to do this?

And if you do, then great that’s awesome. Keep grinding away and pursuing your dreams and committing to your team and teammates.

But if you don’t, that’s ok too.

And if you want to keep playing hockey, that’s awesome and I hope you find a level and team that meets your commitment level.

Because we should never feel pressured to play on a team where our heart isn’t in it.

The game is meant to be fun.

If you don’t want to commit to multiple practices, workouts, meetings, and games every week then don’t do it.

Ultimately, figure out what you want and find a situation that’s right for you.