Five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League provided the tools for Brett Gustavsen to carve out an exciting and successful career.
A native of Scarborough, Ont., Gustavsen got his feet wet with the Ottawa 67’s during the 2010-11 campaign before making the team full time the following fall. A diligent defensive forward, Gustavsen spent the next three seasons with the 67’s before joining the Belleville Bulls in their final year in 2014-15.
In all, Gustavsen’s days in the junior circuit totaled 256 career games, counting 52 goals and 89 assists for 141 points. But not yet done at the rink, he opted to continue along his hockey path with Carleton University, competing as a part of U SPORTS while also obtaining his degree in geography and environmental studies. Combined with the invaluable life lessons he learned from his days in junior hockey, Gustavsen’s educational background soon led to an analyst position with the Canadian Coast Guard.
“We deal with the marine environment and anything that works with the Coast Guard,” Gustavsen told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “We focus on national strategies. We break it down into a couple simple fields of ice breaking, search and rescue, and navigational aid on waterways. I go into work every day and try to learn, just like I did on the ice from my coaches and my mentors, so it’s something that’s fun, and it’s a change, just like going into the OHL and entering a new life. It lets you see everything from a different perspective.”
Among the many traits Gustavsen perfected during his junior hockey days, the now 25-year-old points to how his time management skills have proven critical in his transition to the workplace.
“You start to learn time management from a young age, and when you get to the OHL it really puts it into perspective, whether you’re taking university courses or finishing high school,” Gustavsen detailed. “It teaches you to use your support, the resources that the OHL accommodates you with, and it also teaches you that there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to have fun with your friends, work on your career and be a good student, and focus on your passion of hockey, so it teaches you to value time, and it’s something I still use today.
“You find ways to use your hockey traits outside of the game itself. You have those tools, it’s just when you change, it’s on to the next chapter, like I was coming into the OHL again. I look at my occupation now like it’s a new season or it’s me entering the OHL again, so I just use my experience and apply it to the present.”
Listen to Brett Gustavsen’s full interview with Junior Hockey Magazine here.