Professional hockey player Karl Stollery is a strong believer in the importance of having a community of brothers and sisters in the Lord around you. As he puts it, “that support becomes really huge when you are out on the road and often in groups where there may not be any other committed believers.”

COMMUNITY

A five year professional who has played with several AHL and NHL clubs, Karl is also very involved with FCA’s hockey ministries. He is an active participant in weekly “pro calls” that put likeminded Christian professionals together for study, accountability, and mutual support. “We have a weekly call that players join from all around the country and even from foreign countries,” Karl explains. “We use the time to study, pray together, and encourage and support each other.”

  •  Why is locking arms with Christian brothers and sisters so important?
  • Why is it important who we choose as our friends?What does a good friend look like?
  • What can you do to make sure you are a part of a Christian community?

FOR MORE ON COMMUNITY SEE: HEBREWS 10:24-25, 1 THESSALONIANS 5:9-11, PROVERBS 27:17, ROMANS 1:11-13, 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3

Ten year NHL veteran David Backes made it his goal as a Christ follower to put others first and to intentionally build up his teammates and those around him. “I have learned during my years in the NHL to put others first, and to put team success before individual success.” As captain of the St. Louis Blues for five years, David relied on the Bible as “the best leadership handbook there is.” Now, as a Boston Bruin, David continues to lead by example with humility.

HUMILITY

One way David leads with humility is by being quick to point out the contributions of others, “the little things that may not get noticed that help the team to be successful.” That builds the team. In hockey “you are battling together all the time, facing

  • What does it mean to live with humility?
  • What is the most difficult part in laying aside your own ego?
  • How can you be an example of humility “counting others more significant than yourself?” How can you play like a warrior, but with humility?

FOR MORE ON HUMILITY SEE PROVERBS 15:33, 18:12, AND 22:4; EPH. 4:2; PHIL. 2:3; COL. 3:12; JAMES 3:13

Gigi Marvin grew up in the hockey hotbed of Minnesota. From an early age she starred as a forward, scoring 55 goals one year in high school! She went on to the University of Minnesota, playing four years for the Golden Gophers. This led to membership on the US Women’s Olympic Hockey team that won silver medals in 2010 in Vancouver, B.C., and 2014 in Sochi, Russia. She now plays for the Boston Pride women’s professional hockey team, winner of the inaugural Isobel Cup as league champions. It would be hard to imagine a more dedicated, disciplined, or successful athlete in any sport.

TRUST

But the road for Gigi was not the straight path it might seem. At a high point in her hockey career, between the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, God put a roadblock in her way. She had a choice to make. She chose to trust God with dramatic and powerful results.

“It all happened in a short time between August and September 2011,” Gigi remembers. “The year before I had been an Olympic medalist. I had been on the USA team for five years. But that summer we had an odd tournament that the team was never in before or since. We had tryouts. I got left off the team. It was the first time I had ever been cut, the first individual failure in my hockey experience.” Until that time, hockey had always come easily to Gigi. She was sent home stunned.

“Honestly, hockey had been my idol. Then suddenly I had no team, no job, and nothing at all. I had no idea what I was going to do.”
But God showed Gigi that He had a plan for her. “I was sitting on my bed, reading about how God called Abraham out of his home and sent him to a new land [Genesis 12]. I knew God wanted me to get up and go.” Gigi found out about the new professional league for women developing in Boston. Although it was too late for her to join a team, she stepped out in faith moving to Boston anyways. “God was telling me to go, to trust Him and Him alone.”
No sooner did she commit to the move than USA hockey contacted her to suggest she rejoin the team, only not as a forward, but as a defenseman. In the space of a few weeks, as she puts it, “I went from Minnesota to Boston, from forward to defense, and from being cut to the Olympic team – a new position, a new home, and a new heart completely in love with Jesus and trusting in the Lord.”
Proverb 3:5-6 became Gigi’s touchstone verse of Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Gigi’s story is a powerful example of how God can work in and through us when we trust in Him!