By: Rija Butt, SFU student
Second year student Mitch Ledyard has a dangerous obsession with chocolate, but that won’t stop him from being the best version of the hockey player his dad and uncle have taught him to be.
Having grown up in Port Coquitlam, BC, Ledyard came to Simon Fraser University knowing he could balance academics and hockey. Ledyard is aiming to major in communications and minor in business, with aspirations to go into marketing in the near future. His love for hockey began because of his father and uncle, who got the chance to play in the National Hockey League (NHL), which was a major source of inspiration. Later on, Ledyard adopted his uncle’s number 12 to serve as a constant reminder of the hockey-related lessons his father and uncle passed on to him.
The Peak had the opportunity to talk to Ledyard about hockey, school, and everything in between.
The Peak: I love that there’s a personal touch to your passion for hockey. Can you tell me a bit about being mentored by your dad and uncle while you were getting into the game?
Mitch Ledyard: I had the privilege of being coached by my dad until I was about 13, so it was always nice talking to him a little extra on the side for pointers and ways to get better.
P: You also mentioned that both your father and uncle played in the NHL. Do you see yourself playing in the NHL one day, or do you have different dreams?
ML: You never really know. The NHL is the greatest league in the world, so that may be a bit of a stretch. But I can definitely see myself playing professionally after I am done collegiately. Europe would probably be the best experience overall, as far as playing and travel goes, so anywhere out there would be ideal.
P: Being a second year student at SFU and playing a high level of hockey must get tricky sometimes. How do you manage the balance between work and play?
ML: The balance of hockey and school can be difficult at times with the course load. But coming to the rink every day and being around your teammates/brothers and playing the game we all love is very refreshing; it really takes your mind off of the stress.
P: Who would you say is the biggest supporter that helps keep you at your best, inside and outside of the team?
ML: Inside the team, I would have to say everybody. Every person in our locker room, from top to bottom, wants to win and in order for us to do that, everybody has to be accountable for themselves and each other. Pushing your teammates to strive for success is the biggest motivator in my eyes. Outside of the team has to be family. My parents come to every single game, always ask me how practice went and how my teammates are. They are very supportive of my decisions and are always there for me.
P: Going forward into a career with your sights set on marketing, what do your future plans for hockey look like?
ML: Well, after university, I want to try and play professionally if something is available for me. If that doesn’t work out, then staying involved in the game is for sure something I am looking to do. Working for the Canucks would be pretty cool. Growing up watching them play, going to games, and then working for them would be surreal.
P: You have been a very promising player on the ice. What has been one of your favorite moments with the team so far?
ML: Last year, we went to Alaska to play a few NCAA teams. That was a really unique experience for me. To see their facilities and a different part of the world was pretty special.
P: Adding on to the earlier question, how do you and your teammates get through the bad days?
ML: We all get caught up in school and we dread it every day when, really, there aren’t any really bad days. We all get to see each other every day, have some laughs at the rink, and we go to a pretty prestigious school, so that’s a benefit as well. But coming to the rink every day and doing our thing on the ice helps the most, in my opinion, and other guys will probably say the same.
P: Have you ever thought about what life would be like if it wasn’t for hockey and all the people that you’ve met during this journey?
ML: I honestly haven’t really thought about that. My life has revolved around hockey my whole life, and everything I do, I try to base it around that. I have met so many amazing people on my journey so far. I’ve had some really great coaches and personnel who have taught me a lot and challenged me. I’ve met most of my best friends through hockey, so I can’t ask for too much more.