What are the 3 life lessons you have learned from working hard in life and in hockey?
I learned to deal with adversity. Things are not always going to go your way, so you'll need to find way to face and overcome that. Hockey played a big part in learning how to deal with adversity. If you have a bad shift or game, you find way to work your way through it. Working hard to overcome adversity will give you the confidence you need to help the next time something doesn't go the way it should.
Relying on team work. Hockey is a great team sport. A team works together to achieve goals throughout each game and the season, so if you give it your all and do your job, your teammates will look at you and want to make sure they are working just as hard.
Leadership. Later on in my career, I liked to share my experiences that I had been through. I was fortunate enough to have played with a lot of great leaders in my career, so learning from them, and then, being able to be a leader myself, was a great privilege.
What was one of the most rewarding moments in your hockey career? When did you realize your hard work had paid off?
For me, just to play that first NHL game was a big deal. I always talk about how I was a late starter, especially for hockey. I did not put on hockey skates until I was 11, so I was always behind. I had to work that much harder to keep up. When I played that first NHL game I knew it all had paid off. In my 300th NHL game, I scored a breakaway goal on Martin Brodeur and I'll never forget that.
Why do you believe working hard is so important?
Hard work can separate you from other players. There are a ton of players out there with a lot of skill and skating, but if you do not have the work ethic to compete every day and to try to make yourself better, you can get left behind. The hard work you put in to hockey will translate to life.
How did you know you had to work hard to achieve success? Did someone have a strong influence on you that inspired you to want to work hard?
Again, being a late starter, I knew I was going to have to work extra hard to catch up. My dad always wanted me to play hockey. When I was 5 years old he bought me head to toe equipment, but I just wasn't interested at the time to play. I wanted to be out there playing other sports, like soccer and football. My dad was patient though, and eventually tried again at 11. He was a big believer in being in shape. He taught me how to train and lift weights as I got older and always said that there is someone else working harder to get an edge. I learned to push myself in order to compete at a higher level. The most important thing he taught me was to enjoy and have fun at whatever I was doing.