Hockey players given second chance

Dan Altano

Professional hockey often challenges rising stars to decide between the attempt at success at the highest level of competition and the opportunity of pursuing a degree or a career goal before taking such a risk.
For the person who takes the professional hockey road, stability in the job is never a guarantee due to unpredictable injuries or the possibility of being dropped from a team because of inactivity.
Now, with the newly formed Professional Athlete Transition Institute (PATI) at Quinnipiac University, former National Hockey League players have been given a second chance.
“When I was offered the chance to coach, and get my masters of business administration at the same time, it seemed like it was the best way to go for me,” said Duncan Fletcher, current program manager and director of PATI.
Fletcher graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in political science and obtained his master’s degree in May of 2002 here at Quinnipiac University.
Business and Management Professor Dr. Dale Jasinski and his associate Steven Dunn started the program. They formed a survey that questioned over 2,000 active NHL alumni players to see if there was a demand for further education for retired or retiring hockey players.
With the strong interest the survey results showed, PATI was used to assist a program called Life After Hockey, which includes the NHL, NHL Players Association, NHL Alumni Association, and the international human resources firm, Drake, Beam and Morin.
The Life After Hockey program officially began on Sept. 12 in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Quinnipiac was added as the third component of a five-phase course of transition on July 1.
Drake Beam and Morin handle phase one and phase two. Their firm aids the players in deciding what career path is right for them. After players have decided what they want to do, they come to Quinnipiac.
“What we do is assist the players by helping them obtain the skills they need in order to pursue their goals,” said Fletcher, who is also in charge of handling all relationships with associates and generating business by looking for new opportunities and advantages.
PATI offers the client the necessary ingredients he will need in order to continue the process by sending him to specific skills workshops and seminars, signing him up for on-line classes, or giving him the opportunity to attend universities. By doing this, PATI is helping the player choose what type of learning style that fits him best.
When the player finishes the services Quinnipiac provides, he is sent back to Drake, Beam and Morin, where he completes the phases before handling the process on his own.
Senior hockey players Matt Eirghert and Brian Herbert have played a large roll in the program’s development.
“We think we will be able to create an institute of international significance through the development of further research, and we think it will be groundbreaking toward the transition phase for pro athletes,” said Fletcher, who also volunteers as an assistant coach to the Quinnipiac University Men’s Ice Hockey team. “Not only will our services be a great help to the National Hockey League and their clients, it will also be a great way to help establish Quinnipiac nationwide as a cutting edge institution.”