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Nathan Lafayette

Nathan LaFayette

Ex NHL player and long term pro

This conversation with Nathan LaFayette was not what I had planned.

We never talked about his experience getting drafted 65th overall in 1991 by St. Louis.

We never discussed the gold medal he won as a member of Canada’s 1993 World Junior Team.

I never asked him what it was like to play with legendary leader Mark Messier in New York.

Nathan LaFayette

Episode 31. Season 1. Aug 30, 2020

Nathan had a tumultuous pro hockey career. He was traded 3 times, always bouncing between the minors and the Show, and he battled injuries and concussions, which ultimately ended his pro hockey career.

But the conversation ended up centering on race and diversity and his experience as a BIPOC athlete in a predominately white environment.

This conversation was poignant. Voices like Nathan’s need to be heard and I am grateful he chose to share his experience and perspective. The time for change is upon us and to move forward as a sport and a society we need to acknowledge the past, address the present and collaborate on the best avenues to move forward in the future.

Nathan is currently SVP and Chief Insurance Officer at BCAA and has been in leadership executive positions since he left the game. He understands how high-performance cultures are created and built. He knows what promotes human thriving. Inclusive, diverse, and safe work places – whether those fields of play are office buildings or arenas -provide the highest engagement rates and therefore the greatest potential for team and individual success.

Marginalizing people because of their skin color, sexual orientation, place of birth, or religious affiliation is not something we can tolerate on an individual or a collective level anymore.

It starts with conversations like this one. We can’t all be at the NHL round table with the likes of Evander Kane, Gary Bettman, Matt Dumba and Nathan LaFayette, but we can do our part to engage in open discussion, to be empathetic, and to support change that is long overdue.

Enjoy this episode. I hope it inspires you to share it and to spark discussions in your own inner circle.

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Chris Osgood

Chris Osgood

3 time stanley cup winning goaltender

This week our guest on the Up My Hockey Podcast is legendary NHL goaltender Chris Osgood. Osgood played 744 regular season games, winning 401 of them, which places him as the 13th winningest goalie all-time in the NHL. He is also 8th in all-time play-off wins.

Chris Osgood

Episode 30. Season 1. Aug 23, 2020

Osgood won 3 Stanley Cups in total, including 2 as a starter in 1998 and 2008. He almost won his fourth Cup during a fantastic run in 2009, but his Red Wings lost game 6 & 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins to fall 1 goal short.

We discuss a ton of interesting stuff in this 90 minutes like:

– What’s it like to get pulled in your first NHL start

– How to bounce back after making a huge mistake

– The most important aspects of preparation for a goaltender and why they are critical to your confidence

– What it was like to fight is idol Patrick Roy at center ice in the 98 play-offs

– And what player has the best backhand in hockey

– Why mistakes can teach you or they can break you

– And the benefit of being able to consciously choose your response to events

Ozzy was an awesome guest and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

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Aaron Volpatti

Aaron Volpatti

The power of possibility

Aaron Volpatti wasn’t dreaming of the NHL at 17, he was trying to make the Revelstoke Grizzlies, his local Junior B hockey team. In his NHL draft year, Aaron was living at home, graduating from high school, and hanging with his buddies. He had his sights set on hopefully making the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL as an 18-year-old.

Aaron Volpatti

Episode 29. Season 1. Aug 16, 2020

Volpatti ended up wearing the jersey of the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals, but after seeing Aaron score 7 goals in first 112 games in the BCHL you probably wouldn’t have made that bet and neither would have Aaron. 

But as we have heard before on this podcast, Aaron’s greatest adversity turned out to be his life’s greatest gift. At the conclusion of his second season with the Vernon Vipers that adversity struck. Aaron was involved in an awful accident at a team bush party that left him with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to over 40% of his body. 

He was told he would never play hockey again. 

But after one phone call (and we discuss why this phone call was so impactful for Aaron) Aaron made other plans – he was going to be in the line-up for the season opener come September.  

And after 6 weeks in hospital, 4 weeks in a wheelchair, another month unable to walk and two more major setbacks called kidney stones and an appendicitis, Aaron was dressed to play on opening night. He WILLED it to happen.  

During that process he proved to himself that he could accomplish anything. He grew his resilience, his confidence, and his mindset.  

In this interview we discuss 

  • The possibilities that arise when we assume we generally only operate at 40% of our capabilities 
  • The perspective shift Aaron made that changed the meaning of the physical pain he was feeling, which gave him mental strength and the ability to recover faster 
  • How having big dreams requires us to explore and change the personal standards we set for ourselves 
  • How Aaron used visualization to prepare him for playing in the NHL, at a time when we he never even had a pro contract 
  • How Aaron used DELIBERATE PRACTICE at 24 years old, to become a player that scored more goals and points in his senior year at Brown than he did in his previous 3 seasons combined 

Aaron Volpatti earned his way into the greatest league in the world. He used adversity as opportunities to grow and compete and to overcome. He had clear visions for what he wanted to accomplish and had a plan for how he was going to make that happen. Aaron was prepared to do things that others weren’t willing to do. 

Aaron’s story is one of possibility – one of evolution and one you will find very inspiring. 


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Steve Passmore

Steve Passmore

How to look small but play big earning your way to a successful career.

Standing at 5’9, Steve Passmore always found a way to dominate the crease.  He was always a true competitor and ended up playing over 12 seasons of professional hockey,  92 of those in the National Hockey League.

Steve Passmore

Episode 28. Season 1. Aug 09, 2020

Steve played hockey across the entire globe.  He is a true professional and someone that I always remember to be one of the fiercest competitors I ever had the pleasure of playing with.

Over the span of the interview, you really get a feel for who Steve was as a teammate and who he is as a person.

He was always laughing and having a good time, but when it came to game time, he would completely shift gears.  This is such an important part of the game.  No when it is time to have fun, and when it is time to focus and dial in.

Throughout this podcast we discuss what it was like being a back up goaltender in the NHL.

How to be ready when you get the call to start or if the starter goes down with an injury.

And how to stay positive if you are not necessarily in the position that you want to be.

This is such an incredible interview and I hope everyone can take something valuable and tangible, and apply it to their lives and careers.


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Nathan Dempsey

Nathan Dempsey

From winning his battle to the NHL, to winning his battle with Parkinsons

After 6 seasons in the minors with only 20 NHL games, one wouldn’t generally expect for a 28 year old player to make a full time jump to the NHL, but that’s what Nathan did. 

An 11th Round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1992, Dempsey was never a high-profile prospect, and was just hoping to crack the AHL coming out of junior. 

Nathan Dempsey

Episode 27. Season 1. Aug 03, 2020

 In his rookie pro season, Nathan took advantage of injuries to some veteran players and solidified his spot with the St. John’s Leafs. Where 3 seasons later he would be the team captain.  

At that time Nathan had his sights set on bigger things, he was ready to become an NHL’er but…  

Solid season after solid season was not enough to get Nathan the opportunity, he felt he deserved.  Nathan continued to grow his game, and his leadership skills and made one huge decision that allowed him to become an NHL regular with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2002. 

After finally making his NHL dreams come true and enjoying his third season in the Show, Nathan experienced symptoms of early onset Parkinson’s while playing with the LA Kings and Nathan had new challenges to face.  

Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until year later, Nathan felt it affecting his game and was forced to retire from the sport in 2008 

Leaving the game behind was not an option for Nathan and he now serves as the Campus Director at Vimy Ridge Hockey in Edmonton, Alberta where he is supporting young athletes develop their love and skills for the sport. 

This is a very raw and real conversation and we cover so many great things like: 

  • Why finding your identity and not caring about the judgement of others is so important 
  • How Nathan defines resilience and why he believes you can practice it 
  • The key decision that Nathan “called” selfish that got him his NHL job 
  • Why working on your strengths might be more important than working on your weaknesses 
  • How the proper mindset made a difference for Nathan as a player and how it continues to make a difference for him as person. 

Many thanks to my old teammate Nathan Dempsey for spending time with me and being so open and vulnerable about so many things. I believe this is a very inspiring episode and one that you will enjoy.