What if Todd Bertuzzi didn’t get suspended just before the 2004 playoffs?
What if Stan Smyl scored on his 1989 Game 7 overtime breakaway versus Mike Vernon?
What if Nathan Lafayette didn’t hit the post in Game 7 against the Rangers in 1994?
While Canuck fans ponder these recurring ‘what-if’ scenarios, the subject of the latter, isn’t dwelling on the past – he’s hedging against the future.
Nathan Lafayette is a successful Manhattan based insurance executive.
Upon Lafayette’s retirement from hockey in 2000, his father, a successful insurance executive in his own right, guided his son into a partnership to start Travel Guard Canada. The company, an arm of Travel Guard International, offered travel insurance plans to Canadian travellers.
“The transition from my playing career to my insurance career was a natural one,” says Lafayette.
“The insurance industry was something that I had been exposed to all my life through my dad.”
Travel Guard was acquired by US insurance giant AIG (now known as Chartis) in 2006. Lafayette has subsequently worked his way up the corporate ladder and is now that company’s Senior Vice President. Based out of the company’s home office in New York, Lafayette oversees Chartis’ Accident and Health Market division; one of his primary responsibilities is to develop medical insurance plans for amateur sports leagues.
Lafayette, who played parts of two seasons for the Canucks including the ’94 playoff run, received a concussion in 1998 that partly contributed to his early-retirement at the age of 27. He’s fervent about helping amateur athletes who suffer from concussions or other serious injuries.
“We have an opportunity now to look at what’s going on in the NHL, NFL and other leagues, where, they are taking a more strategic and systematic approach to handling head injuries and return-to-play protocol,” says Lafayette.
“One of the things I can do in the insurance industry is take what’s being learned at the professional level and try to make it available at the amateur and youth levels.”
Lafayette says that he suffered from the effects of post concussion syndrome for almost two years but has no lingering symptoms. He is now even able to play in the odd pick-up hockey game with former collegiate and NHL players living in the New York area.
As for hitting the post in Game seven against the Rangers – well, let’s just say that Lafayette wishes the 2011 version of the Vancouver Canucks well.
“I would love for [the Canucks] to win the Stanley Cup because that would put to bed all the talk about 1994,” he says facetiously.