If there’s anybody who knows what it takes to have a successful career, it’s Steven Stamkos. The forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning is one of the best players in the game today. However, there is a lot more that goes into being good at hockey than scoring a lot of goals. Being an all-around athlete and a positive member of your community is what everyone should strive to be, and it’s no different no matter the level you play.
Stamkos spent his minor hockey years playing for the Markham Waxers in the OMHA. As he gets set to compete for his third Stanley Cup in a row, Stamkos reflects on his time growing up in the game.
Hockey has helped me become a better person. Every day I’m reminded how lucky I am to be in this position and why it is so important to give back to the community. When I see young fans smiling at team events it makes me want to keep that going. Knowing that something as simple as a high five can make such an impact is a great feeling.
I learned quickly how to balance hockey and school. I knew that to expand my skills on the ice, I had to grow my mind off of it. I viewed hockey as a reward for earning good grades. It was fun being able to play in my own backyard where I grew up and play sports with those in my neighbourhood. I was able to make new friends in school and learn from their experiences.
I want to be the best but I know the work that goes into that. It’s about always being one step ahead and giving one more push than your opponent. If you don’t work hard then somebody else will and they will be the ones to beat you. I want to succeed and I want my team to win with me.
Keep expanding your skillset and never forget where you came from. Growing up I loved playing hockey but I also had a lot of fun playing baseball. I believe that playing baseball helped me be more complete on the ice. I’m lucky that I’m able to combine the two by bringing a group of kids to a Blue Jays or Rays game because I hope that it helps build them as people and that one day they can be in my position.
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