On Monday, Jonathan Bernier, a former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie, retired from professional hockey after a 14-year career that spanned six NHL teams.

In his announcement on his Instagram account, Bernier expressed gratitude to various teams. These include the Los Angeles Kings, Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, and New Jersey Devils, for allowing him to play in the NHL. Bernier also thanked his fans and, most importantly, his family for their unwavering support.

Related: Five Reasons Easton Cowan Could Be a Future Maple Leafs’ Star

Bernier’s Announcement Made Me Consider the Dreams of These Players

His heartfelt list of thanks reflected his genuine appreciation for everyone who contributed to his dream of becoming an NHL goaltender. During his time with the Maple Leafs, he played 151 games over three seasons, achieving a record of 59 wins, 68 losses, 17 ties, and an impressive .915 save percentage. Congratulations to him on a successful NHL career.

In a statement Bernier posted on his Instagram account, he noted:  

“There are no words to express my gratitude to everyone who has been part of my hockey journey since day one, without all of you I couldn’t have done it.” 

“To my lovely wife, kids, and family, thank you for always being by my side through the ups and downs. You have always supported me and helped me achieve my childhood dream and be my biggest fans. Now I’m heading into the next chapter of life – retirement.”

Other NHL Hockey Players (or Professional Athletes) Have Posted Similar Thank You Notes

Call me an old sap, but I was touched by Bernier’s announcement. It reminded me of the dreams of the young men (and women) who play hockey and get to do it as a living. It’s a tough sport, but it’s also obviously rewarding.

In this post, I wanted to take some time to unpack the key ideas in Bernier’s acknowledgment of the critical role that others (especially his family) played in his hockey career. Here are some of the key points Bernier made.

Bernier’s Note One: Family Support

Bernier appreciated the unwavering support he received from his family throughout his career. This support includes his wife, kids, and extended family members.

Bernier’s Note Two: Childhood Dream

Bernier mentioned that his family’s support helped him achieve his childhood dream. This idea highlights the profound impact that family can have on a young athlete’s aspirations and goals. It’s a narrative of how many Canadian families support their kid’s dreams to play hockey.

Bernier’s Note Three: Becoming the Aspired Goaltender

Bernier attributes his family’s support to his development as a goaltender. He was clear to suggest that their encouragement and presence were instrumental in him becoming the player he aspired to be.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Success Hinges on Matthews This Season

Why Are These Three Areas Crucial to Professional Athletes?

Moving on, I want to explore why these ideas are so important to a professional hockey player.

Need One: Professional Athletes Need Mental and Emotional Support

Professional athletes, including hockey players, face immense pressure and challenges. Having a supportive family helps provide them with a stable foundation of love, understanding, and encouragement. This support can be crucial in maintaining mental and emotional well-being, which in turn, impacts their performance on the ice. It can be a tough life, but it helps so much with family support.

Need Two: Professional Athletes Need to Nurture Their Dreams

Many professional athletes begin their journeys as children with big dreams. Family support during these young years helps nurture these dreams and instill the determination to pursue them. Such early encouragement and belief in their potential can encourage youngsters to work tirelessly to reach the professional level. These are winning characteristics for their lives.

Need Three: Professional Athletes Need Motivation and Inspiration 

Family members serve as powerful sources of motivation and inspiration. Knowing that their loved ones are behind them, cheering them on, and believing in their abilities can encourage athletes to give their best effort, even during challenging times.

Need Four: Professional Athletes Must Balance Personal and Professional Life

Professional hockey players often have demanding schedules that require them to spend large amounts of time away from their families. However, having a strong family support system can help them maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives, reducing stress and improving overall well-being.

The Bottom Line for Bernier

In Bernier’s case, recognizing the pivotal role his family played in his career underscores the importance of such factors in the life of a professional hockey player. It’s a testament to the powerful relationships between family support and athletic success.

For me, it reminded me of the network of support that help all hockey players survive and prosper in this entertaining and difficult game.

Related: Maple Leafs Matthews Better Than McDavid in One Area: Defence

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