5 Life Lessons from Hockey

We can all learn a lot of life lessons and morals from playing or even watching a game of hockey.  Often considered one of the most badass sports any man or woman can play because of its hard-nosed style of play, hockey can offer individuals lessens that extend beyond the ice rink.

Dump & Chase

When the head on strategy doesn’t work to get you closer to your goal, consider flanking the opposition with a dump and chase.  In hockey, when teams play an effective trap defense that prevents an offense from moving the puck past the neutral zone, they often employ the dump and chase offense in which the puck is sailed high over the heads of the defense and then raced after to regain possession.  Consider tackling a problem from a different angle in the real world when your original method doesn’t work.

Toughen Up

Life Lessons From Hockey

Did life just knock your teeth out of your mouth?  Toughen up, lace your skates back up, and go in for another shift.  The game doesn’t end when a little adversity comes your way.  And you certainly don’t want to regret calling it quits when you could have gone back and scored the game winner flashing a big toothless smile.  Hockey players don’t give up when the going gets tough.  Lower your shoulders, take the hit and move on.  Certainly never even think about diving – this isn’t soccer, even though a rare few hockey players seem to think it is.  If you don’t know how to deal with adversity, see: dump & chase.

Show Respect

A hockey game is a 60-minute war between two teams.  Pucks go flying into teeth, bodies get crushed into the boards by other bodies, hands and legs get slashes by rogue sticks, and fists find themselves rhythmically smashing into faces.  The war stops when one team wins without mercy.  However, at the end of the day the players respect one another and show great sportsmanship by shaking each others hands, whether they win or lose.  This great tradition is absent on many fields and in many arenas.  The aura of respect certainly should not be forgotten in every day life.  So respect the person working behind the counter at the DMV and you’ll earn a little bit of respect back.

Score Goals

At the end of the day the team with the most goals skate off the ice as victors.  The number of saves don’t matter.  Hits don’t matter.  Turnovers don’t matter.  Faceoff wins don’t matter.  What matters are the final numbers on the scoreboard.  Nothing feels better than scoring goals.  Hat trick?  You won’t be able to erase the smile off your face for a week.  Set your goals in life and achieve them.  Start with small, more achievable goals at first to raise your confidence and be able to stick to them and then raise the bar higher and higher.  Once you achieve one goal and break the plateau created by a scoreless streak, your attitude will brighten and push you forward.  All of a sudden, scoring goals is a piece of cake.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Life Lessons From Hockey

As a team sport, hockey relies on each individual coming together and creating a synergistic effect to achieve a win by scoring goals.  Witnessing great,clean, tic-tac-toe passing between a couple of players that leads to a goal is a thing of beauty.  It takes precision, skill, and everyone being on the same page.  Group success, whether it’s on a sports team or performing collaborative work at your day job, depends on teamwork.  Everyone has to share the same attitude, strive for a common goal, and work together at a set pace with an even, manageable workload in order to collect and share the fruits of their labor.  For more info, see: The Mighty Ducks (“ducks fly together”).

Don’t Let Up

In hockey, you must play all 60 minutes.  Don’t just play the first two periods and expect to win the third.  It kicked the Vancouver Canucks where the sun doesn’t shine when they blew a 3-0 lead in the third period to the lower-ranked New York Islanders, who ended up scoring 7 goals in one period and winning 7-4 on March 10, 2014.1  Don’t stop playing until the whistle is blown.  That’s what everyone is taught in every sport.  Definitely don’t be comfortable with your cushioned lead and underestimate the competition.  Set your goal in life and don’t think about slowing down when you get closer to the finish line or you’ll regret it and may never achieve your goal at all.

Equipment Doesn’t Make the Player

A good hockey player doesn’t need the most expensive stick on the market to shoot a wrister or the best pads that money can buy to absorb hard hits.  In fact, if a hockey player’s stick breaks on the ice, he may sometimes borrow another player’s or grab a different stick from the bench and utilize it just as well as it was his own.  Bobby Ryan once had his right handed stick stolen out of his hand by Mikko Koivu so what did Ryan do?  He picked up Koivu’s stick off the ice, which was left handed, and scored a goal seconds later.2  The point is that no matter what tools you have at your disposal, you should be able to achieve great things with them.  Also, don’t place the blame on things when you have yourself to criticize.  Fix your own faults so that your successes and failures can be fully attributed to your skill, not the stick that shot the puck into the net.


this post first appeared on The Rugged Fellows Guide.

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