Year of Graduation: 1999
Major(s): Social Science
Current Position: Assistant Coach/Goaltending Coach, Lorenskog Ishockeyklubb
Please provide a brief description of your current position and what your work entails.
I recently wrapped up a season as an Assistant Coach/Goaltending Coach for a Norwegian professional ice hockey team called Lørenskog Ishockeyklubb. We played in the GET Ligaen. My job was to help develop and implement team strategy, as well as individual skill development with our goaltenders and defensemen.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
After being a student athlete at St. John’s, and working other colleges’ sports camps in the summers, I began a career in Hockey Operations/Coaching that spanned 14 years in North America (University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, Minnesota Wild, St. John’s IceCaps). I then spent 2 seasons volunteering through Hockey Without Borders based in Montreal. Through my experiences abroad, I was able to use my hockey experience to secure a job coaching professionally in Norway.
What are the most challenging and satisfying parts of working abroad?
Working abroad can have a major impact on your personal relationships. Trying to find the time to stay in touch with people while juggling full time work and, in my case, a 9-hour time difference between Oslo and my family, who are almost entirely on the West Coast of the United States, can be challenging. However, having the opportunity to enjoy and become a part of a different community allows you to get an in-depth view of another country’s culture, which is something you cannot get on a weeklong visit.
What skills are important in your field?
The ability to find ways to communicate and build rapport across language barriers and different social mores is extremely important. Learning how to build trust and creating an environment where players cooperate and rely on each other is an important skill to possess.
How has your liberal arts education been beneficial to your career path including your current job?
My liberal arts education taught me to ask questions in situations rather than assume I knew what was going on. The ability to realize, and understand different perspectives helped me find common ground with people in foreign countries and build relationships that grew despite our different perspectives and frames of reference.
What activities/experiences were you involved with at CSB/SJU and how have they been helpful in your career?
While at St. John’s, I was a member of the hockey team, and a member of the Peer Resource Program. The knowledge and understanding of hockey clearly was important to be being able to work in the sport. Like most sports teams there are valuable lessons about teamwork, communication, dealing with adversity, and working to reach goals that are valuable in almost every career. Being a member of the Peer Resource Program was beneficial because I was able to develop skills in project management and, through our training, I was able to gain a much better understanding of group dynamics and team building.
What advice would you give a student wanting to live and work abroad?
My advice to anyone who had an interest in living and working abroad would be to absolutely pursue it. Having the opportunity to participate in communities in foreign countries changes your perspective about the world, teaches you about different cultures, and helps you develop a more global perspective about things. Seeing news about countries I’ve lived in, worked in, and have friends in, absolutely changes the way I absorb information, and enhances my understanding of things happening abroad.
What advice would you give a student interested in a career in sports?
Careers in sports are not careers at all; rather, they are lifestyles. Working in sports can be extremely demanding and rarely follows a traditional work schedule. While they are extremely rewarding you will not have the same schedule as your friends who go to work for companies like Target or Cargill. Being a part of professional or collegiate sports team is great and if you have the passion, I highly recommend it.