Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Nyberg makes mature move by moving on

Photo courtesy of Shoot the Breeze - Marissa Baecker

Henrik Nyberg is more mature than even I realized.
The 19 year-old surprised me and other Kelowna Rockets fans today by ending his WHL career by returning to his home in Sweden to begin a new chapter in his life. (Note: Nyberg informs me he is not quitting hockey all together)
Nyberg, even as a teenager, knew he was spinning his tires in the Western Hockey League. A diminishing role wasn’t good for him nor the team he represented for two short seasons. As an older player, Nyberg wanted to make a major contribution both on and off the ice. Nyberg didn't want to be a spare part. It takes a lot of maturity for a teenager to literally look in the mirror and see what type of hockey player they have become and come to grips that the dream of playing pro or semi pro is diminishing by the day.
Henrik Nyberg saw the light at the end of the tunnel and it didn’t include hockey, at least at a high level. I often wonder how many of his colleagues across the league, between the ages of 16 and 20, play for the wrong reasons when the desire is no longer there. How many play the game because of outside pressure from parents? How many lose the passion to play the game when outside influences from loved ones, fans and the media is so great? How many don’t want to play because in order to excel you have to lace up your skates 11 months of the year? When is the game no longer fun, which was the main reason they joined hockey in the first place?
'Hank', as his teammates called him, was bold enough to take action on none, some or all of these feelings. Sadly, others like him won't and instead play with no real purpose. Is it exciting to come to the rink everyday to practice? Is it fun being around your teammates or is it a drag? Would I rather be hanging out with my girlfriend and doing what normal teenagers do rather than bus around Western Canada in the wee hours of the morning? Few are scared to ask themselves those question with the fear of finding out the real answer.
Whatever Henrik Nyberg’s real motivation was for leaving the Rockets now, I applaud the move. 
‘Hank the Tank’ isn’t running out on his teammates. In my opinion, Nyberg is being the ultimate teammate. He isn’t going through the motions in practice or in games when his heart isn’t into it. He didn’t want to hold anyone back, specifically the other 22 players in the dressing room. Nyberg should be celebrated for a mature decision to leave the team and move on with his life. In the big picture, Nyberg is better for it and so are his teammates who will undoubtedly miss his bright smile.
Thanks 'Hank' for what you did in your short stay in Kelowna and for making the bold decision by following your heart.
Henrik Nyberg didn't score many goals but this was my favourite in typical 'Hank the Tank' fashion.


Unknown said...

Hey Regan, with Nyberg gone, what are the chances that the Rockets will add another import to their roster? Do they have anyone on their protected list that could be joining them, possibly after the world jrs, like with Backlund a few years back?

Jared Comeau said...

Everything you said here is so very true Regan. The worst thing a young man can do, is do something he dislikes doing, just to appease the masses.

MG said...

Wow. That is the best "personal post" you have ever written. Pure truth.

Regan Bartel said...

Outside of trading for one, no Michael Backlund waiting in the wings unfortunately.

Gordon McGarva said...

Always a smile and hello from Henrik. Take care and all the best Henrik as you move on to the next chapter in your life.