Diplom z Harvardu nebo NHL?

A co takhle obojí? 🙂

Zatímco u nás se kvalitní vzdělání a vrcholový hokej v lásce příliš nemají, zámořský systém stále více dbá na „obourozměrný“ rozvoj mladých lidí. Projekty našich hokejových akademií mají sice ve svých propozicích i vzdělání, ale většinou je hlavním úkolem borce hlavně někam upíchnout, „aby taky chodili  do školy a nejlépe někam, kde je budou pouštět z vyučování na hokej“. Už v žákovských kategoriích se potýkáme s omluvenkami ze školy kvůli soutěžním zápasům nebo akademickým turnajům. Důležitost, kterou vzdělání přičítají za mořem, dokládá i následující příběh, na který jsem narazil na stránkách USA Sport&Study Roberta Sovíka a ještě výmluvněji pak následující grafický přehled NEW YORK RANGERS!

Here’s a question for all you Hockey Moms out there: Would you rather see your son grow up to play in the NHL or earn a university degree from Harvard?

Alex Killorn’s mother, Cindy, doesn’t have to answer that question: her son has done both.

Alex, who grew up in Beaconsfield, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round (77th overall) of the 2007 NHL entry draft but wouldn’t make his NHL debut until the 2012-13 season. After playing midget hockey for the Lac St. Louis Lions in 2005-06, he spent two years at Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts, and then spent four seasons playing for Harvard University while earning a degree in government.

This season, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound centre had 15 goals and 23 assists in 71 games and during the first-round playoff victory over the Detroit Red Wings he had two goals and two assists in seven games.

Now, the kid who grew up worshipping Saku Koivu and cheering for the Canadiens is back home in Montreal to face the Habs in the Eastern Conference semifinals in front of proud family and friends.

“Do you want to know the truth?” his mother Cindy said from her Beaconsfield home when asked what she’s most proud of about her son. “The Harvard stuff. I didn’t really know if he was going to play professional hockey … I really didn’t know.”

As a school teacher, Cindy always wanted to challenge her children academically. That’s why after the family moved from Halifax to Beaconsfield when Alex was six months old she decided to put all three of her children — including daughters Rachel and Katie — into French elementary schools to learn the language of La Belle Province.

After elementary school, Alex switched to English school at Loyola College.

“Education was everything for me … it was my top priority,” Cindy said. “I challenged them. There was no practice, there was no hockey if the homework wasn’t done.”

Cindy and her husband Matt put together a plan when it came to Alex and his hockey.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17) celebrates after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during Game 2 of  Eastern Conference quarter-final series on April 18, 2015.
Tampa Bay Lightning centre Alex Killorn (17) celebrates after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during Game 2 of Eastern Conference quarter-final series on April 18, 2015.Chris O’Meara / The Associated Press

“We had to use hockey — which may sound weird — to get something for him that I knew he could use when he was older,” Cindy said. “He just had to get an education because he’s one injury away from really nothing.”

After he finished midget hockey, Cindy and Matt started taking Alex to visit prep schools south of the border, telling him to “pick the boarding school as if you broke your leg, let’s say, and you couldn’t play hockey. Which school would you pick? Always go for the strongest education program that you can.”

But Cindy isn’t certain that education was the only reason Alex selected Deerfield Academy. “He might have picked Deerfield because the girls were the best-looking there,” she said with a laugh.

“I found that a lot of the kids that I knew in hockey seemed to disappear for some reason … I don’t know why,” Cindy added. “They’d go off to major junior or they’d go off somewhere and then you wouldn’t hear about them again. I just found that the American universities just loved these Canadian kids. We were approached by tons of schools with wide-open doors, whatever you want … just very accommodating.”

Alex chose Harvard, where he was a teammate of former Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc for one season in 2009-10 before Leblanc left school and joined the QMJHL’s Montreal Juniors. Alex spent four full seasons at Harvard — developing physically and mentally — before finally signing with the Lightning.

Cindy recalls one conversation she had with Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman when she said: “'(Alex) is one injury away from driving the Zamboni.’ And he said, ‘Well, I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration.’ And I said no, but that’s what I always thought.”

Cindy and Matt will be watching the Zamboni at the Bell Centre during the Eastern Conference semifinal series while waiting for their son to take the ice with the Lightning.

Said Matt: “For him to have a degree and to go to Harvard, he never would have had that opportunity if it wasn’t for hockey. And to be playing here in the playoffs in his hometown, it’s unbelievable. It’s still surreal for me.”

When asked if she had any advice for other Hockey Moms — and Dads — Cindy said: “I would say to them, never live through your children. I got more involved than my husband actually with the cheering and the screaming, but my husband never, ever, ever gave him hockey advice, believe it or not, and he still plays twice a week now. He got in the car with him and if he scored six goals or he scored no goals, the car ride home was just never about the game unless Alex asked.”

Then she added: “If you’re good enough (to play in the NHL), they’ll find you wherever you are … even if you’re in China.”

univerzitni hokej

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