When Dustin Sproat first created Hockey Players for Kids,
his main mission was to help children and to give back to the community. Little
did he know that he and other active members of HP4K would benefit so much from
the good karma that surrounds the organization.
James Allen once said about the Law of Attraction that, “A man sooner or later discovers that he is the
master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” The lives of those involved with HP4K have
been going pretty well. Many of HP4K’s most active members have seen
championships, newly signed NHL contracts, NHL play and NHL points, even in the
post season. Many other members
have seen big strides in their careers, leading them closer to every hockey
player’s dream: playing in the show.
A man who directs his own life
is a man who succeeds in all areas.
These men have taken their spare time and made it a mission to help
their community. The majority of hockey players have to move to cities away
from their hometown to play the professional game and instead of sitting around
playing Xbox these men are reaping the benefits of community involvement.
For example, Ben Smith, of the
Chicago Blackhawks was recently recalled from the Rockford IceHogs and scored
three goals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Rockford
IceHogs were one of the most active teams in the “Stick to Reading” program
that HP4K offers. Smith got involved in the program that teaches kids about the
benefits of reading while rewarding the top readers in the class. The winners played in a floor hockey
game with Smith and several other IceHogs.
(Ben Smith after scoring a playoff goal versus the Vancouver Canucks)
Of course Smith’s reasons for
scoring three post-season NHL goals can be explained by his hard work and
dedication to the game (Smith was a former Frozen Four MVP), but I’m sure the
Hockey Gods gave him some good energy which helped get him to the Show sooner
rather than later, in his first pro season.
The main reason these players get involved in HP4K is
because they want to help kids in their communities. They didn’t do it as a resume builder or secretly hoping
that karma would find them and pay them back. There was nothing selfish about
their actions. They have simply received the good karma by being an HP4K
member. I am not proposing that karma is some sort of superstition; I think
that being involved with HP4K can affect the trajectory of a hockey player’s
season in measurable ways. In my
opinion this is just further proof of the old adage, “How you do anything is
how you do everything.”
For example, a guy like Ben Smith helps out by unselfishly
giving his time to a school in the community. Have you ever seen him on the ice? He is the definition of a
team player and plays totally unselfishly. Smith lies down in front of shots on the PK, he stands in
front of the net on the powerplay taking a beating from opposing defensemen,
and he is a stellar playmaker, always looking to make a good pass instead of
shooting from a bad angle.
Also, as a personal side note, anytime I asked Smith to do a
live interview after the 1st period, he never once hesitated. Sweat would be pouring down his face
and he would be exhausted from giving 110% but he knew I had a job to do and
that the viewers wanted to hear his thoughts.
These qualities are what scouts, coaches and GMs look for
when they’re going to draft or sign a player. They ask, “What kind of guy is he?” Well, given these examples, the players
involved with HP4K are all solid guys, made up of the right character traits
that help a hockey player succeed both on and off the ice.
Take a look at these other examples:
Dustin Sproat, the creator of HP4K won a Kelly Cup
Championship with the Cincinnati Cyclones last season. Kind of ironic that he won a league
championship only a few months after creating HP4K. Also, other members of the
Cyclones actively participated in HP4K after Sproat founded it and shared in
the Kelly Cup Championship as well.
Spencer Carbery started in the Central (CHL), battled his
way onto a bunch of ECHL teams, and the year he starts with HP4K, he becomes a
20 goal man with time split between Fresno and South Carolina, wins a
championship, and sets himself up for his future career (now a coach for the
George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks, known for his mustache
and enforcer status, has also seen the personal benefits of HP4K. The tough guy’s soft spot for children
earned him one of his most exciting seasons yet by leading the league in
fights. Don’t let the mustache
fool you, Parros also created his own clothing line called Stache Gear, where
all proceeds go to charity.
Kyle Hagel was the mastermind
behind the “Stick to Reading” program that Ben Smith and the IceHogs got
involved with. He sought out the
schools and teachers and pitched the program to them. The Rockford community
was instantly impressed with Hagel’s demeanor and dedication to the children of
Kishwaukee and tons of Hagel fans were born. In a charity jersey auction the IceHogs put on, Hagel’s
jersey went for the highest bid of $2,900. The next highest was $1,600. Hagel was also given the team’s
Man of the Year Award as well as the Unsung Hero award.
Mike Moore, the influence behind HP4K’s “Give Moore” has also seen some good Karma. He got
his first major league call up this year and scored his first NHL goal in only
his second NHL game versus the Colorado Avalanche.
Mark Van Guilder has also seen success in his career after
his involvement with HP4K. After battling three seasons back and forth between
the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) and the AHL, he finally earned a permanent
spot this past season on the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, racking up 17
points. To add to the positive
energy around him, the Admirals are currently in the second round of the Calder
Cup playoffs. Van Guilder has 4 points, 2 goals and 2 assists, so far in the
post season. And guess what else?
He also received Man of the Year honors from the Admirals.
Something that I’ve noticed from working in hockey is that a
General Manager has several roles to fill on the team. You’ve got your power
forwards, stay at home defensemen, enforcers, penalty killers, etc. But one of the most important things
that GM’s look for are the club house guys and the hard workers. GM’s want leaders on their team,
regardless of the amount of points they score. Those guys are the ones that bring the team closer
together. We all know that when a
team has closeness and chemistry, they perform.
This is one thing that HP4K has built, without really even
trying. They just wanted to help
children for fun but HP4K has built leaders. Leaders that the NHL wants and needs. These leaders that are
now reaping the benefits of being good people and I think it is no coincidence
that Karma has finally found them.
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