Life lessons of a hockey player

For those of you who know me, you know I am a huge hockey fan, specifically the Vegas Golden Knights. Our family is all in for the VGK and I have gained an entirely new appreciation for the sport of ice hockey. The more I learn about hockey the more I find life lessons that we can all use to navigate our lives towards prosperity and success…however you define that. Below are three hockey lessons we can all learn from.

  1. Hockey and life are both team sports. Very few people can reach their full potential or accomplish goals without assists from people. The most famous hockey players of all time would not have had significant careers without teammates assisting them. In fact, hockey players accumulate “points” throughout a season and career; goals and assists are both the same point value. This sends the message that the assist is equally as valuable as scoring a goal. While those who “score goals” per se are the most praised, we should also recognize the people who provided the assist. Think about the assists you have received throughout your career – supervisors, mentors, parents, teachers, etc. Take a moment of gratitude for those who have assisted you and continue to assist.
  2. When you are in the game play hard and give all you have…then take a break. The offensive players on a hockey team are divided into “lines” and each line will be on the ice for a shift. The typical hockey player’s shift is 40 seconds, after which they are usually exhausted. They play so hard and exert so much energy that regular rest in necessary to complete the game. If life were the game, vacations would be the rest between shifts. Your mind and body need recovery, just like a hockey player. If hockey players did not rest, they would burn out and not be able to contribute to the team. How many people do you know who are burnt out? Living life like a hockey player means we give it our all when at work, then rest. Work hard, play hard.
  3. Sometimes you have to fight. The old hockey adage is “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” highlights how fighting is part of hockey culture and an accepted norm. Hockey players fight for a variety of reasons, and I don’t fully understand why some fights happen. Hockey is a physical sport so there are times when players need to stand up for themselves or teammates, or send a message to the bully on the other team (known as a Goon). No matter the reason there are times in hockey where the player needs to fight. Like hockey sometimes in life you have to fight. For us it will not be an actual fist fight, rather destroying TIM WOODS (the Lean Six Sigma Goon) is our fight for improvement. Other ways we might fight could be speaking the truth, exposing a lie, or highlighting a dysfunctional company culture. For most of us life is not easy street and sometimes we have to stand up and “fight”.

There are many additional life lessons I see in hockey to include boldness, efficient communications, preparation, seizing opportunity, and how speed is an advantage. So, the next time you watch a hockey game I hope you are able to appreciate the life lessons it teaches us. See you in the Gemba!

Go Knights Go!