Scott Niedermayer has had success at every level of his hockey career, racking up four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. In January, Niedermayer joined the coaching staff of the Anaheim Ducks in an effort to help the Club win a Stanley Cup, a feat he accomplished in 2007 as a player.
Off the ice, Niedermayer brings that same spirit and winning record as a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Freshwater Ambassador, especially in his role as spokesperson for Canadians for the Great Bear, championing one of the richest and most spectacular ecosystems in the world.
Standing in the middle of a stream—literally up a creek— on British Columbia’s North Coast, he reflects on nature’s amazing interconnectedness. Salmon swim upstream past his ankles to spawn, while the dead fish that line the banks provide food for wolves and bears and fertilize the soaring cedars.
He realizes that it would only take one oil spill to destroy this delicate cycle.
“Here in Canada, I think we have a responsibility to do all we can to protect these amazing places,” says Niedermayer. That’s why he has chosen to work with WWF, inspiring other Canadians to speak up against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would cut through the Great Bear region.
For Niedermayer, the idea of oil tankers cutting through this extraordinary part of his home province of British Columbia does not still well. Neither does a high volume of oil tankers penetrating the waters in and around the pacific temperate rain forest of coastal B.C.
As a child in Cranbrook, B.C., he treasured the mountains, rivers, and lakes around him. Throughout his career, the NHL star remained acutely aware of the important synergies between the health of the environment and human health.
What lessons from the ice rink does he bring to ecological conservation?
“Persistence does pay off,” says Niedermayer. “You need to believe in what you’re doing and believe you can accomplish it.”
“I will do whatever it takes to make sure that, one day many years from now, my grandchildren will be up a creek too,” Niedermayer promises.
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