The Toronto Maple Leafs made a surprising move this summer by signing Ryan Reaves to a three-year contract. While his on-ice impact might be limited as a 36-year-old, his contributions off the ice are likely to be invaluable to the team’s culture.
Reaves Is a Character, in a Good Way
Like him or not, no one can say that Reaves isn’t in the middle of things. He has a history of community involvement, seeking greater recognition and equality for others, and addressing diversity issues within hockey. He jumps into the role of a role model and community figure with both feet.
Specifically, he’s actively involved in programs like the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams program. In large ways, Reaves is making an impact in the community.
Reaves Advocates for Diversity and Recognition
Reaves’ work goes beyond scoring goals and winning games. He actively advocates for greater diversity and recognition within the sport of hockey. He knows the importance of creating an inclusive environment where players from all backgrounds are celebrated for their contributions. He’s committed to being part of hockey’s changing environment – making it a sport that embraces diversity.
Reaves Is a Role Model and Community Figure
Reaves certainly has a passion to play hockey, but he’s also stepping up to be a role model for young athletes so they might, too, become positive figures within their communities. He seems to understand the impact that professional athletes can have on influencing young fans. And, he doesn’t shirk from using his platform to inspire and uplift others.
It’s not unusual for Reaves to make school visits, attend community events, or engage with fans. Reaves believes his impact can help others.
Reaves Is a Leader in the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams Program
One way Reaves is making a difference in the lives of others is with his involvement in the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams program. This program is dedicated to providing children from diverse backgrounds with access to the sport of hockey by donating equipment and supporting local hockey programs.
Reaves actively participates in this program. By doing so, he helps ensure that aspiring young players have the equipment they need to follow their dreams.
Reaves Works to Build a Stronger Team Culture
New Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving made no bones about it. He brought Reaves to the team because he wanted him to impact the team’s culture. He believes a positive culture also plays a key role in the team’s success.
Fans should look for Reaves’ presence and commitment to community engagement to positively impact the Maple Leafs’ locker room. His dedication to serving as a role model helps set an example for his teammates, reinforcing the values of teamwork and community involvement.
The Bottom Line
Reaves was brought to the Maple Leafs to play hockey. However, he’s more than just a hockey player for the Maple Leafs. He’s also a big personality – a character, of sorts.
He’ll be a presence in his new community and he will continue to be a champion and an advocate for change within the sport. As the Maple Leafs work to build a stronger and more positive team culture, look for Reaves to play a crucial role in that work.
The organization believes such work can help the team be more successful both on and off the ice. Good luck to him.