The news that Derek Dorsett won't be returning to the ice this season rocked the Canucks dressing room.
His teammates spoke incredibly high of Dorsett, the 10-year, 515-game NHL veteran, reflecting on everything he accomplished playing for Vancouver, Columbus and New York.
Alex Biega, however, was more focused on what's to come for Dorsett.
This past Monday, following a team practice in New Jersey, Biega visited the NHL head office downtown New York to meet with commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, upon their request. Last year the NHL and NHLPA launched the NHL/NHLPA Core Development Program (CDP), aiming to help players become better professionals both on and off the ice.
The CDP was created to provide players with information, resources and services to enhance their career experience; it's designed to create opportunities to identify or complete educational endeavours, augment financial goals, build networking skills, establish key professional networks, and create strong philanthropic, business and career foundations.
Biega, a graduate of Harvard University now in his fourth season with the Canucks, was asked by the Player's Association to help develop the program. During his 90-minute meeting with Bettman and Daly, the 29-year-old had his say on ways to further improve the program.
Video: Alex Biega on His Meeting With Gary Bettman
Biega hasn't talked to Dorsett since his announcement Thursday morning, but he's looking forward to sitting down with him back in Vancouver.
"This could be a valuable resource for him," said Biega. "When he's ready, it would be a matter of him sitting down with CDP personnel to discuss his likes and hobbies and help him find a new path."
Former NHL player Mathieu Schneider, now NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director, believes the tools and opportunities are in place to help players who hang up their skates, regardless of when or why.
"We believe this Core Development Program will promote further thought from players - while they are still playing - to consider the interests they would like to pursue outside of hockey, and will provide all interested Players with the tools and opportunities to be successful.
"Player input was crucial in building the CDP program, together with the NHL, and it will continue to be very important as the program grows. We have ensured this development program will not take away the focus of players from their on-ice performances, will be straightforward to use and will also be completely customizable to meet players' needs."
Sad day for Dorsett, but the best is truly yet to come.