22 APR 2019
New York Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk cautions parents about putting too high of a priority on a child’s potential hockey career. Plus, he talks about being born into the Catholic faith and attending Catholic school (K-8), coming into the NHL, moving to and living in New York City, and what happened when he tried to attend Christmas Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“There’s a lot more to life than just a sport.”
“Your hockey career only lasts for so long, from the time you’re five or six years old until however long, 20, 30 years if you’re fortunate. There’s so much more to life after that.”
“Parents… think that this tryout or this game is the end-all, be-all. Well, it’s not. Of course it’s important and it’s fun and there’s a lot of good that can come out of it but at the end of the day hockey only lasts until you’re 30, until you’re 35 if you’re really lucky, so, that’s not even half your life really, and to put such a high value on it… it doesn’t last forever and there’s a lot more to it than just those years.”
“One of my favorite parts about New York City, I’m just the average citizen walking down the streets, no one knows who I am, which is the nice part. Go back home to… Minnesota it’s a little different, but in New York City I’m just the common citizen, which is nice.”
“The Rangers have a team chaplain and we usually, we try to meet up – it’s a little hard with our road schedule – but we try to meet up at least once a month… He works through an organization called Hockey Ministries. He visits us… or he’s available to talk all the time.”