3 tips for finding balance from top NHL players

NHLPA members Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) and Mark Jankowski (Calgary Flames) talk about the challenges and importance of balancing family and friends.

As professional athletes who spend a large part of each year committed to their craft, the chance to enjoy quality time with family and friends is something they cherish.

“No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s always good to know there are people out there who you can lean on for anything,” said Nurse.

Finding time to spend with people you care for — whether you play on hockey’s biggest stage or not — can be extremely meaningful.

For Nurse and Jankowski, knowing you can count on your family and friends to be there for you in good times and bad is something they truly appreciate. Here are their tips for finding balance with the things they love in everyday life:

  •  Make the time

“Obviously, hockey can be very demanding and you can be on the road for days,” noted Nurse. “But even though you might be far away from your friends and family, it’s good to make time, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to connect with them.”

“It’s important for me to make time for family and friends throughout the season because the support I get from them helps through the grind of an NHL season, as well as being able to unwind from hockey a bit and relax with them,” added Jankowski.

  •  Enjoy the moment

“I really appreciate any chance to visit with my friends and family,” said Nurse. “I think it’s really important to be engaged and to enjoy whatever you happen to be doing. Whether it’s just hanging out with friends or sitting down for dinner with your family, it’s something that always makes you feel good and it might even lift you up when you are feeling down.”

  •  Let it go

“When you do have a chance to spend time with your family or friends, you want to make sure that you appreciate those moments, to share some stories of what’s happening in your life and to listen to what’s happening in their lives,” said Nurse.

“It’s important to put away any pressures in my hockey life when I’m with friends and family because I don’t want them to feel the pressures; this way I can take my mind off of hockey for a little bit and rest and focus on the time I get to spend with them,” noted Jankowski.

Finding balance between family, friends, school, work, hobbies and anything else going in your life can be tough. It’s key to prioritize and take time out for what’s important to you when you can. Remember, you can always talk to a friend, relative or Kids Help Phone counsellor for support.

Kids Help Phone would like to thank Darnell Nurse, Mark Jankowski, the NHLPA and writer Chris Lomon for sharing this story!


If you would like to know more about this topic, you can connect with a counsellor by phone or Live Chat.