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The toll of being a journeyman hockey player

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It's always amazed me how great an attitude McKenna has about moving around to so many teams. I didn't realize he had a young family at home. I wish him the best. Hopefully an AHL or NHL team sets him up with a steady job after he retires. He's earned it. 

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A deeper understanding of hockey life, thanks for sharing!

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22 different cities in his pro hockey career

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Well paid but definately not easy moving around and the toll on families spending so much time away from each other....

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He will likely be moving again in a couple of weeks whether to Utica or Lehigh Valley. I'm sure he will prefer Utica though as it's about a 3.5 hour car ride from Belleville (I believe is where their family resides based on the tweet). 

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If he is in the AHL the rest of the season he will make about $400K this year. He probably made about $250K last year and since 12-13 has made over $100K per year in the minors. In 09-10 his salary was the lowest at $50K - he was 26th at the time with no NHL call-ups. Other than that he has done well. Also consider living in small towns is so much cheaper than living in a big city. So he at least made a good career of it. 

I had coffee with Victor Oreskovich a few months back. It is a tough gig for those guys who can't stick in the NHL, especially for bigger players. Another guy I work with (who was actually a teammate of McKenna's for two years in Albany/Lowell, 42 NHL games) also made working a white collar office job seem like a dream. I think it is special to make it to the NHL but toiling in the minors for a long stretch really takes its toll. Professional sports are very cutthroat and sometimes we forget these are normal dudes with the same feelings/emotions as everybody else. 

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Posted (edited)

To anyone interested in learning more about the life of a journeyman replacement level player, I really recommend the book Journeyman by Sean Pronger. It's fantastic. It takes you through his entire career as a someone who had to move around a ton to keep chasing his dream of being a professional hockey player. Since he was with the Canucks organization, there's even some really cool tidbits about his time here (such as witnessing the incident when Bieksa punched Fedor Fedorov at a bar). He's really honest and upfront about how much it sucked sometimes, while still being appreciative of the career he had. Very well written and engaging.

Edited by BananaMash
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39 minutes ago, BananaMash said:

To anyone interested in learning more about the life of a journeyman replacement level player, I really recommend the book Journeyman by Sean Pronger. It's fantastic. It takes you through his entire career as a someone who had to move around a ton to keep chasing his dream of being a professional hockey player. Since he was with the Canucks organization, there's even some really cool tidbits about his time here (such as witnessing the incident when Bieksa punched Fedor Fedorov at a bar). He's really honest and upfront about how much it sucked sometimes, while still being appreciative of the career he had. Very well written and engaging.

I read that book and thought it was great.  And its funny how so many people still wont confirm or deny the Bieksa/Fedorov situation and Pronger comes right out and admits it haha.

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1 minute ago, Russ said:

I read that book and thought it was great.  And its funny how so many people still wont confirm or deny the Bieksa/Fedorov situation and Pronger comes right out and admits it haha.

My favorite parts were definitely that bit, and the part where he talked about how brutal it was playing overseas back in the time period that he did. I couldn't believe how poorly he and his family were treated when he went to Frankfurt.

 

Sorta helped me understand why the DEL never became that important of a league despite being in a cool country.

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2 minutes ago, BananaMash said:

My favorite parts were definitely that bit, and the part where he talked about how brutal it was playing overseas back in the time period that he did. I couldn't believe how poorly he and his family were treated when he went to Frankfurt.

 

Sorta helped me understand why the DEL never became that important of a league despite being in a cool country.

That surprised me because I have heard so many other players say they loved playing over there and very few seem to not like it outside of language barriers.  Actually my parents friends kid plays in switzerland (I think) and seems to love it there (injured now so who knows if his career is over now or not).  It was a great book though I will agree.  I almost enjoy those call up type players and their experiences more than most of the guys who spent entire careers in the NHL, the AHL/NHL guys have more stories with more teams/people, etc.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Russ said:

That surprised me because I have heard so many other players say they loved playing over there and very few seem to not like it outside of language barriers.  Actually my parents friends kid plays in switzerland (I think) and seems to love it there (injured now so who knows if his career is over now or not).  It was a great book though I will agree.  I almost enjoy those call up type players and their experiences more than most of the guys who spent entire careers in the NHL, the AHL/NHL guys have more stories with more teams/people, etc.

I was surprised too! I know the father of a player who played many years in the DEL (Shane Peacock) and he loved it over there. However, he also had a really poor experience with Frankfurt if I remember correctly and only stayed with them for a single season. Might have just been that organization, because he had nothing but positive things to say about the rest of the teams he played for during his 13 seasons in Germany.

 

https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/21600/shane-peacock

Edited by BananaMash
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1 hour ago, BananaMash said:

My favorite parts were definitely that bit, and the part where he talked about how brutal it was playing overseas back in the time period that he did. I couldn't believe how poorly he and his family were treated when he went to Frankfurt.

 

Sorta helped me understand why the DEL never became that important of a league despite being in a cool country.

I think I read once where during a NHL lockout, a number of them played in Russia.  I forget which old Canuck player said it but he claimed that they got paid by being given a paper bag filled with cash!

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Posted (edited)

Cry us a river.

Many of us work in camps or the military, away from our families too, for pennies on the dollar compared to these sob stories.

 

 

 

Edited by 189lb enforcers?
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40 minutes ago, 189lb enforcers? said:

Cry us a river.

Many of us work in camps or the military, away from our families too, for pennies on the dollar compared to these sob stories.

 

 

 

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/2062307-an-inside-look-into-the-harsh-conditions-of-minor-league-baseball.amp.html

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Posted (edited)

No wifi in an small logging or exploration camp, just tents and bugs and bears. No fans or taxis to ease the loneliness. 

 

They can be helicoptered in and out sites without much notice and are out of contact with their families during all of this. What about their kids? If some of you just came to the realization that the travel and working conditions of minor league sports is tough, well, fine, but some wife crying about it doesn’t tug at my heart strings. There are other stories that deserve your empathy over their chosen career decisions. 

 

These camp people’s little kids cry about missing daddy just as much as those players being cheered for in major cities, etc. I think many of us must live in a bubble. This wife is whining about the lifestyle they chose. 

 

I don’t empathize with the the I’m-human-too story being propped up while your neighbor is likely living the same life yet you don’t know it because there’s no glamour in it, or whining about the choice. Harsh? Consider it, Perspective instead. 

 

Perhaps being a hockey person on a hockey site, I knew this about hockey players from the onset, I thought it was common knowledge and so I’m not gushing the same sentiments I’m reading here. Yes, they are also human, but are human assets who choose to make their living this way and are responsible for their families fate just like any of us. 

 

(Is the average person really this ignorant of what it’s like to work away from home and be away? Sounds like it. Share the empathy. Heck, half of Comox/court are families of people who work in camp, for instance, which is at least shift work and predictable for the kids, with wifi (usually too crappy to skype) for dad, typically, if that’s not too non-PC on here)

Edited by 189lb enforcers?

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On 1/5/2019 at 6:55 AM, canucklehead44 said:

 Professional sports are very cutthroat and sometimes we forget these are normal dudes with the same feelings/emotions as everybody else. 

The critics don't forget so much as declare that because they make lots of money they automatically become stoic emotionless robots,  and if they don't then thats their problem

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On 1/6/2019 at 11:10 AM, 189lb enforcers? said:

Cry us a river.

Many of us work in camps or the military, away from our families too, for pennies on the dollar compared to these sob stories.

 

 

 

Bingo

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They can always Skype from their mansion....or wait until the 4 month long offseason. Im sure there are single parents out there working 2-3 jobs, just for a roof and food.  

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28 minutes ago, Bure_Pavel said:

They can always Skype from their mansion....or wait until the 4 month long offseason. Im sure there are single parents out there working 2-3 jobs, just for a roof and food.  

You really have no idea do you.   There is no "off" season and even less of one if you are a fringe player as you find games anywhere you can and you train constantly - it is a full time, 365 job.    

 

Mansion.   Ya, sure.    

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