Over five seasons and more than 300 career games, former Kamloops Blazers and Calgary Hitmen forward Brock Nixon learned the values of the hockey environment and how they constantly apply to the outside world.
Now an elementary school teacher in his native Manitoba, Nixon fondly recalls his time in the Western Hockey League and how it helped shape the person he is today, from the life lessons imparted by his junior coaches to the friendships he formed with his teammates that he still maintains today.
“You learn lots of balance lessons, with going to high school, and then for the guys who go on to post-secondary once you graduate. The two clubs I played for were very involved and offered a lot of support, so you have to lean on it,” Nixon told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “You have to take it upon yourself sometimes too, to work on school, hockey, and travel. It’s a long season, it’s a grind at times, but you have to learn those lessons early. In moving on to university, the lessons I learned at an early age really paid off.”
Upon wrapping his junior career, Nixon attended the University of Calgary, thanks in part to the CHL scholarship program, where he received a joint degree in education and kinesiology. The opportunity also allowed him to remain in the game as he skated for another five seasons with the varsity Dinos.
“After junior, my goal was to go to an NHL camp, but it didn’t really work out. It wasn’t necessarily that I was giving up on the hockey dream, but I had a great opportunity and five years of scholarship money to work with,” Nixon detailed. “I knew that was going to be important in the long run, so I put it on hold and played university hockey, which was huge for my development, and I got my degree too.”
Today, the 32-year-old mathematics and physical education teacher reflects on his new life away from the rink, knowing that much of it was formed from the many teaching moments from his days in the junior hockey circuit.
“It’s quite a change from waking up and going to practice and then going to lunch and hanging out and working out with the boys,” Nixon said. “Now it’s more trying to keep my kids in line and teaching them a thing or two. It’s a huge change but I love it. I knew I was ready to move on and get to that next step in life, and the steps I took along the way to get me ready for this made it a little easier. I am really enjoying it.”
Listen to Brock Nixon’s full interview with Junior Hockey Magazine here.