RED DEER – Hockey Alberta has partnered with the House of Leaders to offer an exciting education-based program focused on developing young leaders.
Becoming Player X is a remote learning, three-credit high school course available to students currently in grades 10-12. Those registered with Hockey Alberta are eligible to participate at no cost.
Becoming Player X was created by Willie Desjardins and Mike Valley. Currently the General Manager and Head Coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, Desjardins has dedicated his life to the game with a resume that includes coaching stints with the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings. After an extensive professional playing career, Valley proceeded to become a goaltender coach with the Dallas Stars, before transitioning to Director of Player Development and now offers mentorship and training to developing athletes. The course features 26 lessons from sports legends and mentors, including Desjardins and Valley, who have been to the top of the game.
“The concept originated from the Navy Seals. We looked at how great it would be to get leadership qualities in our young athletes,” said Desjardins. “Leadership can be learned as well. I think it’s inside all of us, but I think it can be learned and taken to a different level with training.”
Students receive a new 25-minute lesson every Monday, Wednesday and Friday that is sent directly to their phones. Following each video, students must answer questions to complete the lesson. As a division of the Prairie Rose School Division, students have access to a teacher throughout the course.
To date, over 275 students have completed the course, including Nate Corbet and Tyler Mackenzie.
For Corbet of the U16 AAA Northwest Calgary Flames, Becoming Player X has helped in more than just his hockey career.
“Through hockey you learn so many life lessons, but learning these lessons through Becoming Player X is obviously going to translate to real life,” said Corbet. “If you’re passionate about the game and passionate about the learning and trying to better yourself, you have to take this course. It’s only 20-25 minutes out of your day every second day and it’s going to help you tremendously.”
For Mackenzie of the Medicine Hat Tigers, the course changed his outlook on life.
“One thing you can take away from the course is leadership and becoming a great person. There’s a lot that talks about who you are off the ice just as much as who you are on the ice,” said Mackenzie. “I think it’s a huge thing in building great character and becoming the best version of you in life. It teaches you a lot about becoming a great teammate, good whatever it may be. It really changed my outlook on a lot of things toward hockey – not just hockey, but life.”
Players considering taking the course need to be registered by February 1. The course begins February 7. For more information visit becomingplayerx.com.
Program mentors include:
- Willie Desjardins (former NHL coach)
- Marc Crawford (NHL coach)
- Glen Gulutzan (NHL coach)
- Ken Hitchcock (former NHL coach)
- Stu Barnes (former NHL player, coach, and current scout)
- Paul Jerrard (former NHL coach)
- Mike Valley (former NHL goalie coach)
- Shawn Horcoff (former Edmonton Oilers Captain)
- Brandon Sutter (NHL player)
- Brian Elliott (NHL goalie)
- Brianna Decker (USA Olympian)
- Derek Dorsett (former NHL player)
- Mel Davidson (former Head Coach and GM of Team Canada)
- Cassie Campbell (former Olympian and Sportsnet Broadcaster)
- Corey Hirsch (former NHL goaltender, coach, broadcaster, and mental health advocate)
- Dallas Cowboys Social Media team
- Gary Roberts (former Calgary Flames Captain, and sports performance coach)