A celebrity golf tournament featuring members of the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings will be held Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, at The Broadmoor Golf Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., with all proceeds from the event benefitting The USA Hockey Foundation.
The tournament will be held in conjunction with an NHL preseason game between Colorado and Los Angeles at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on Oct. 2.
"We're most grateful to have The USA Hockey Foundation as the beneficiary of the celebrity golf outing," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We also thank both the Kings and Avalanche for their continued efforts in in working with USA Hockey to positively affect the growth of hockey, particularly at the youth level."
Foursomes for the tournament are available and include the opportunity to golf with Avalanche and Kings personnel, tickets to the preseason contest between the two clubs Oct. 2, and opportunities to win prizes, as well as breakfast, lunch, and a cocktail reception.
For more information, click here or call (310) 535-4466.
Professional hockey players are quick to tell you how lucky they are to have the greatest job in the world. To continue playing a game that hooked them in their youth, and do it on an international and national stage, can’t be beat.
But oftentimes retirement comes sooner than hoped. National teams and NHL memories vividly remain, but players are forced to find another calling. Many find roles away from the ice. Some stay involved in hockey by jumping behind the bench.
“As time goes on and you get closer to the end of your playing days, you start to wonder ‘How do I stay in this game?’ because it’s such a big part of your life,” said 2014 United States Olympic Men’s Hockey Team assistant coach Tony Granato. “(Coaching) doesn’t replace playing, but it’s as close as you can get to being a part of a team.”
USA Hockey alumni are scattered around the world in coaching positions. They can be found at nearly every level of the game leading new generations of players.
Learning from Coaches Past
Granato suited up for seven USA Hockey international teams, including in the 1988 U.S. Olympic squad. He also enjoyed a 13-year NHL career after a prosperous four years at the University of Wisconsin.
“I was lucky enough to play for Bob Johnson (at Wisconsin). From an American standpoint, he was a coach that I always admired and thought ‘Wow, it’d be nice someday to be able to stay in the game and coach,’” said Granato, currently an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings. “He was the first coach I had that made me think about it. The passion he had for the game and the way he made it fun for me as a player. He was a pretty good role model.”
Teaching from Experience
Peter Laviolette, another 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team assistant, has frequently drawn from his own experience as a player when leading an NHL or U.S. National Team. The 49-year-old is a two-time Olympian with 13 seasons of NHL coaching and one Stanley Cup to his credit. He ranks second in career victories among U.S.-born NHL coaches with 389.
“Having that first-hand experience as a player comes through more than you think,” said Laviolette, who’s entering his first season as Nashville Predators’ head coach. “I know I might not have been thinking about it from a coaching standpoint at 20 years old, but trying to figure out the game even back then helps now. You can use that experience as a foundation for leading a team.”
Katie King Crowley, head coach of the women’s team at Boston College, is regularly reminded of her playing days. A well-recognized U.S. Olympian, she added three pieces of hardware to USA Hockey’s shelf as a member of the 1998 (gold), 2002 (silver) and 2006 (bronze) squads.
“It’s funny, I get a lot of kids who used to have posters or pictures of our teams,” said King Crowley with a laugh. “It’s weird to think about how they are all college-aged kids now and back then they were just these little kids. I have an incoming freshman, Gabriella Switaj, her parents sent me a picture from when she was probably 8 or 9 of the two of us together at (USA Hockey) Annual Congress, so it’s really fun to go back through time that way.”
King Crowley also uses her experience when preparing players for the next step. She adds that having been through the tryout process and national training camps gives her players an extra shoulder to lean on through the pressures.
Even as USA Hockey alums trade in their numbers for a sports coat and tie, one thing remains the same: They continue to make an impact on the sport that gave to them.
“One of the biggest rewards for coaching is that you realize you’re now a part of a player’s development,” Granato said. “You’re now trying to make people better and players better. You’re helping give them an opportunity to fill in those (USA Hockey) skates you left behind.”
Maybe coaching is the second greatest job in the world.
What has your career path looked like after hockey? Share your story with us by emailing email@example.com.
Jim Sedin and Don Whiston are 60-plus years removed from their time with the 1952 United States Olympic Ice Hockey Team, a group that won the silver medal in Oslo, Norway. Both men are now in their 80s, and while some memories fade with age, the vivid ones remain.
Sedin remembers scoring the tying goal against Canada in the team’s final round-robin contest. With no knockout stage in those days of Olympic competition, his equalizer secured the silver for Team USA.
As for Whiston, the pomp-and-circumstance commencement of the Olympics still stands out in his mind.
“The opening parade was exciting,” Whiston recalls. “There’s no question about that.”
A former netminder at Brown University, Whiston remembers the U.S. Olympic Committee budgeting roughly $13,000 to cover the team’s expenses in the Olympic village. The sum would have left more than a few bills unpaid, so over the course of three months prior to the Olympic Games, the team traveled throughout Europe, playing 50-plus games to fund their trip with gate receipts.
When the Olympics began, Whiston played in the team’s first game against host Norway, and it’s a memory that lingers with the 87-year-old.
“You can imagine what that was like,” he said. “Standing on the ice and hearing the Star Bangled Banner was enough to give you goosebumps. I think the only time I was more excited was when my children were born.”
Growing up in New England, Whiston didn’t try playing between the pipes until his junior year of high school when he transferred from a Catholic school to a public school.
“I could skate like mad, though,” Whiston says of his time as a player.
His father and uncle had both played goaltender – and a future son would eventually play at Harvard University – so it was only fitting that Whiston continued in net. He might be best known for being the first college netminder to don a facemask.
“I guess I had the genes. The position came very easily to me,” said Whiston, who eventually worked in investment banking for 40 years following the Olympics.
The recent Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame inductee doesn’t play much anymore but stays connected to the game by following his young grandson who plays in Colorado. He’ll also be releasing a book soon, focused on his Olympic experience overseas. Even after shoulder- and hip- replacement surgeries and two major back operations, Whiston still works out every day with his two personal trainers and makes time for a weekly appointment with a masseuse.
Like Whiston, Sedin also endured hip surgery, about three months ago, which now results in regular physical therapy sessions.
After participating in the Olympic Games, Sedin contemplated juggling hockey and graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but after more deliberation, he opted for the California Institute of Technology instead.
“I thought that, ‘God, if I go out and start playing semi-pro hockey or professional hockey and try to go graduate school at MIT, I’m not going to make it.’ So I decided to go to Cal Tech,” said Sedin, who concentrated his time in business management and investments in the 1980s after an engineering career.
Pick-up hockey lasted until about 35, followed by a 10-year hiatus. Then came Sedin’s yearly participation in the Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament, an annual event created by Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schultz for players 40 and up. The 84-year-old Sedin finally stopped playing six years ago, but attempted a comeback on the ice last winter. Despite a strong passion for the game, sometimes the body can’t do what it once did, as the current Sun Valley, Idaho, resident discovered.
“It was just too discouraging,” Sedin said. “I just couldn’t do what I thought I should have been able to do. I may be done now.”
And while the curtain may finally be closing on his hockey-playing days, Sedin, like Whiston, can look back proudly on an epic career highlighted by silver in Oslo and a lifetime of great memories.
Shawna Davidson, a three-time member of the United States Women’s National Team (1990, 1992, 1994), remains very involved in the game. Currently in her 18th year of service on USA Hockey’s Board of Directors, she is a director at large and also as a member of the Player Development Committee.
Having played on USA Hockey’s first three IIHF Women’s World Championship teams, Shawna is excited by how far women’s hockey has progressed in a relatively short time.
“I take pride in knowing we were the pioneers,” she said. “I bleed red, white and blue, and I love watching our current women’s program. It’s great to see how well the teams are taken care of with training, nutrition and all of the opportunities that are presented to the players.”
These days, Shawna finds herself being a pioneer in another discipline: women’s sled hockey. As a coach of the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team, she is excited to see the start of what will hopefully become a Paralympic discipline.
“The International Paralympic Committee has approved the first ever Women’s World Cup for this November in Canada. We are working hard to make this an exhibition sport for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea,” said Davidson.
The women’s sled team is currently funded through private donations as well as through a grant awarded this spring from The USA Hockey Foundation.
For more on the Women’s Sled Team, visit: http://www.uswomensledgehockey.org/