The hardest year of my career was my first year in the OHL. I was extremely excited that I had made it to the OHL and I had big expectations for myself. I can still clearly remember being on the starting lineup in the season opener. But things didn’t go the way I expected. I didn’t produce and fell down the lineup quickly. I started worrying about not producing, which made me hold my stick too tight and made it even harder to produce points. I remember it being about 15 games in and I still had no points, the coach came and told me it was going to be hard for me to get much playing time moving forward. I was healthy scratched 34 games that season and when I did play I’d only get a handful of shifts. I remember we took a road trip up to Ottawa from Toronto and I was all excited that I was in the lineup but come game time, I didn’t get one shift. I sat on the bench the whole game!
In short, I finished the season with 0 points and I was devastated. It was incredibly hard to have any confidence as a hockey player and person. I even considered quitting hockey.
However, I was able to overcome these adversities and many more like them (e.g., broken jaw & getting sent down) to be able to finish my career successfully. But this took be 10 years of struggle, frustration, and trial & error because I didn't have enough guidance. In short, I learned how to strengthen my mental toughness the hard way.