Arizona Rubber

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The Whyte Stuff: Recent workshops will help me better prepare on, off ice


I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop hosted by the NHL Alumni here in Phoenix.

The company that runs the two-day seminar is Communication Leadership Network, and is owned by Cindy Novak. She has been the main speaker in the numerous workshops I have attended, and I cannot say enough about how amazing she is. Her workshops ultimately changed my life and how I not only approach everything around it, but how I am on the inside as well.


This latest workshop organized by NHLA senior director Wendy McCreary was called “Personal Branding.” It gave us the tools to better present ourselves in our lives after hockey. It helped us learn who we are, how we are wired and better yet, how we can evaluate others around us and how they are wired. We learned the four major types of people, their characteristics, how they approach life, their good traits and their not-so-good ones, too.

This workshop also helped us to establish what our strengths are, and how we can utilize them to accomplish our goals. Society typically has the approach of pointing out one’s weaknesses and what needs to be done to turn it into a strength. Although that is not necessarily a bad practice, if we focused more on what people are good at and place them in an environment where they would succeed, the overall morale would be much higher, as would productivity.

It was very interesting to be sitting in a room full of fellow NHL players who have all retired from the game and moved on with their lives. Reacquainting with some, and getting to know others, we all share our experiences and realize that even though we have all taken different paths after the game, we all have very similar situations relating to retirement. I am very proud to be a part of the NHL Alumni. It is an amazing family, doing great work and supporting former NHL players, charities and fundraisers.

The other workshops that I have attended through the NHLA and CLN are “Coaching Beyond the Boards” and “Communicating with Confidence.” Both of those were equally as beneficial, and had life-changing effects in my world. I especially enjoyed the Communicating with Confidence one, as it focused heavily on public speaking. It is amazing at how much one does when speaking that can greatly determine whether the information being delivered is actually being received.

Not only is one’s appearance very important, but also their hand gestures, movement around the room, and most importantly, their eye contact with the audience. Cindy Novak is an expert at this, and always keeps her groups engaged. We had to deliver a speech at the beginning of the workshop and then again at the end of the workshop. It was incredible how much all of us became such better public speakers in the span of two days.

Although these seminars are geared mainly towards former NHL players, Cindy travels all over the world and brings programs like these to major corporations and their employees. She is excellent as what she does, and when you walk out of one of her shops, you feel ready to take on the world. If you ever have a chance to attend one, I strongly recommend that you do – you will not be disappointed.

I know that any of the NHL Alumni that have participated in any of her workshops always leave feeling great and singing her praises. Not only has it made me a better person off the ice, and more prepared in my professional world, but it has allowed me to be much better equipped as a coach and mentor – which means everything to me.

Sean Whyte is the former director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief at DYHA.

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