Print Edition: March 5, 2014
One of the biggest decisions a young adult can make is picking a career, but the path you decide to pursue right away might not be what you want to do for the rest of your life.
And these changes aren’t always due to indecision. Circumstances change. People change. A lot of students, myself included, have changed their majors at least once during their university career because they’re unhappy. It’s almost impossible to pick the right career path on the first try. No matter how initially successful, no one wants to overcommit to one path.
So when the news broke last week that Abbotsford Heat forward Lane MacDermid had filed his retirement papers at age 24, I really felt for him.
The Abbotsford Heat suspended MacDermid after he failed to report to the team following the AHL All-Star break. It was later revealed that Lane never reported to the team because he had made the difficult decision to quit hockey altogether. Radio host Pat Steinberg at FAN960 confirmed with a tweet: “[Craig] Conroy told us MacDermid [lost] his passion to play, so is moving on from his hockey career.”
It’s always shocking to hear about a hockey player who decides to walk away from the game at such a young age, especially one who grew up in a hockey household and had the potential to bring in a yearly six-figure salary. Lane MacDermid is the son of Paul MacDermid, who suited up for 690 NHL games in the 1980s and ‘90s. Making the choice to hang up the blades after making it so close to the NHL would be almost unimaginable for thousands of young men whose hockey dreams were shattered when they failed to make it to the next level.
But living out of a suitcase and travelling on a bus from hotel to hotel will wear anyone down.MacDermid may be a young player, but he’s been playing for a long time and understands the amount of sacrifice it takes to get to this level. Quitting the game he grew up loving takes guts. It would have been much easier for MacDermid to continue playing without his heart in it, but the life of a minor league enforcer isn’t for everyone.
MacDermid was playing in a difficult situation in Abbotsford. After being traded twice in under a year, MacDermid was filling the role of the Heat’s enforcer, which doesn’t offer much of a future for young players besides a potential concussion. An average game for MacDermid would consist of limited ice time, only stepping over the boards when the gloves need to be dropped.
When you know you’re in the wrong spot, it is only natural to step back from life and find a better one. For MacDermid, this meant looking for something outside of hockey.
It was a mature decision for MacDermid to leave the game at this point in his career. His conclusion to leave a sport after almost two decades of dedication must have been a complicated one, considering the sport is all he knew. While it may seem like I’m merely speculating, the situation obviously wasn’t working out for him, and this is where young students can learn from Lane’s example. If you’re unhappy with your career choice, don’t be intimidated by the idea of making a change and finding something you’re passionate about. Best wishes to Lane, and I hope he finds success in his life after hockey.