Hey, where'd you go?

Brent Sopel - former NHL defenseman, 2010 Stanley Cup Champion

August 03, 2021 Collin Kushner / Brent Sopel Season 1 Episode 13
Hey, where'd you go?
Brent Sopel - former NHL defenseman, 2010 Stanley Cup Champion
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the 'Hey, where'd you go?' podcast, the former 12-year NHL defenseman talks about struggling in school, not being diagnosed with dyslexia until his early 30s, finding salvation on the ice, his purpose after hockey, and so much more. Today, Brent Sopel —  through the Brent Sopel Foundation —  is helping people with dyslexia fulfill their potential through early detection and intervention. He's also the President of Horizon Energy Consultants, helping former hockey players enter the real world. 

Brent Sopel:

I get more out of helping people than I ever did raise in that standing up . I don't want my name attached to hockey. I want it to be, you know, my legacy, what I leave behind the, the footprint that I leave behind the foundation leaves behind, you know , um, we have one life to live. Let's make it the best and when I'm helping people , um, that's when I feel the best, [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Welcome to another episode of the Hayward. You go podcast. I'm your host, Colin Cushner. And my next guest is 2010 Stanley cup champion defenseman . Uh , he was playing for the Blackhawks , which has a wings guy. We're not going to hold that against them. He's Brent soulful . Brent, how's it going,

Brent Sopel:

Man? Doing well. How are you?

Speaker 2:

I'm good, dude. Super stoked to have you on the podcast. I appreciate you taking the time and there's no bad blood because I like the wings and you played for the Hawks, right? It'd

Brent Sopel:

Be good. Yeah . We're all, we're all set, you know, life after hockey.

Speaker 2:

I just wanted to get that one out of the way. Cause I know that gets sometimes be the elephant in the room. Uh, Brent, you have a fantastic story and I'm really excited to dive into it here on the Hayward's go pod . I always like to start from the very beginning. And you grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan. What was that like? I'm a California dye . So you got to describe what was that like

Brent Sopel:

Then ? You know, it was, you know, I spent half the time in the city and half the time on the farm and um, I miss my farm, you know, take me off the farm roads . Can't take the farm out of me . And uh, it's just that the open air, new California , uh , people, too many people, their stars up there. If you guys could take a look and get away from the lights, it was just a , it's a farm made me who I am. Uh, you know, we had , when I grew up, we had cows and chickens and the whole nine yards, and then you had grain, we added it all and it was it's where, you know , you got one thing to do. You got to work, you know, mother nature controls what you do on a farm, but there's always work to be done. And it made me who I am today. And I , I love it. It's a , it's the best place going out there and just peaceful, you know, at night, completely dark it , just your animals. And , uh, like I said, I , I truly miss a big time. I read

Speaker 2:

A story about you pushing a tractor up a hill and then you would, and you were holding a brick as well. And your other w in your other arm, which I have no clue how you did. And then you would jump in as it was going down the hill to kind of get the vibe like you're actually

Brent Sopel:

Driving. Yeah. A little rock that sat on the deck of the, of the tractor. And I used the treads and pushed it up and, you know , um, I don't know how many hundreds and hundreds of times, it just, it was a little track that was on the farm. And I love that tractor. And I ended up , uh, restoring it and driving around, down that gap. I still have it, that's my , uh , my pride joy, but I was skewed and was allowed to drive it without , uh, you know, by myself the bad age. So I was going to take advantage. I wouldn't know I was driving it , but it wasn't running. So it was a , it was okay. I spent many, many hours pushing that thing up there. And I guess that was my workout. Was that

Speaker 2:

The early Brent sold bull hockey training off ice regimen,

Brent Sopel:

You know , and you're as much a training. It was fun. You know, I, I, you know, any work to me on the farm was it was a work. It was fine . I, you know, I loved it. And , um, I guess it did help out with the, you know, with the legs and maybe that's why it's such a slow , slow skater, dude.

Speaker 2:

You made it to the NHL. I, I know. I mean, you could say slow state or this, that, or the other, but you ended up going to the NHL, but before we get to that, I know you're from Canada, but, but who introduced you to the game of hockey? Was there anybody in

Brent Sopel:

Particular? Well, you know, obviously it , Canada , um, everybody thinks it's the national sport, but it's not as lacrosse, but , uh , growing up in Saskatchewan , um, yeah , minus I guess he gets, you know, for , in California, it got up to minus 50 Fahrenheit this year. So , um, not too bad, but there's, there's, you know , winter time , that's it, you know, a lot of the outdoor rinks where I wrote in Saskatchewan or at school. So in on recess, you're out there and , uh , it just who you are, you know, I was skating at the age of two , um, just because I loved it. It was, it was everywhere you turn, you know, it started snowing in September. There wasn't a Halloween without snow, two feet of snow back, growing up , growing up. So I it's just who we are as , uh , you know, Saskatchewan ranks everywhere. And I just started two years old. And then my dad would make me a little rink in the backyard and it just became, became my life. Was

Speaker 2:

That the dream for, from a young age to dedicate yourself to the game of ice hockey. And for that to end up blossoming into a 12 year NHL career,

Brent Sopel:

You know, every kid , uh, in Canada won the Stanley cup millions times in the outdoor rank. And , um, you know, I, I absolutely loved it. Um, you know, I loved it, but there's also, it's an escape for me. So there was a , there was a few things that were going on there, you know, there's, you never think that you're going to make it because it's less than 1% ever. Do you know? It's a, it's a small margin, you know, I don't even know. There was never a time where I ever thought I was going to make it, you know, was I better than, than a , than a lot of them. Yeah. But that still doesn't mean , uh, you are going to make it still to be one of the 1% less of the 1% of the world. Um, that's, that's a small number, but I just, you know, it was an escape and I loved it. You said

Speaker 2:

Hockey was an escape for you. And I know school, wasn't the easiest growing up. Can you kinda talk about those struggles that you had in school? And, and I think at one point you even said, people said you were stupid when we're going to dive into it . That that's clearly not the case by

Brent Sopel:

Any means. Yeah. You know, it's for eight hours a day, I hated lights , you know , um, you know, you talk to everybody, you can , you trying to find a job that you love. It's not, you know, it's not a job, but how many, every time you go there for eight hours, you know , um, you just want to try and fit in as a kid and you look to your left and right. And you can't fit in by doing the simplest things. So it was, it was a nightmare. I hated every second of it. I hate to go in there, everything to do with it, you know, and that's where her escape was when I was on that rank. Um, I didn't think about it. I didn't have to worry about reading that , uh , that sentence or that math problem. It was just, you know, I cleared my mind and I was, my escape was, you know, being on the ice, you know, I have to say

Speaker 2:

That really resonates with me, Brent cause growing up, even in Southern California in hockey, hockey was that one place, especially as a goalie where I felt like I was on my own little island and that Reik was kind of the barrier between me and the rest of life. Cause I also had some struggles in school and you know, when you're coming home every day and your paper is just covered in red ink, it's not a good feeling. And the hockey was the only place for me personally, where I was like, you know what, like I, I can get, I was able to get away

Brent Sopel:

From it. And that's why everybody's going to have that outlet. You know, is it a hockey? Is it baseball? Is it music? You know, whatever that is. Um, you know, you talk about learning disorders, you're talking about struggling, you know, dyslexia is one in five, you know? So when you're talking about 20% of the population, your hazard is struggling and at 80% of the people don't get diagnosed by the time they leave school, you know, it's and you think, you think you're told you're dumb and stupid and lazy and you think that, and you know , um , you have no self-esteem for eight hours and you walk out to , you know, through, like you said, Rite aid with more home , more homework, cause you can get it done. It's a nightmare. Did anybody,

Speaker 2:

Including yourself ever question or ever think, you know, maybe, maybe there is maybe I just started , maybe I just learned differently. I mean, I know growing up, growing up in Canada, you know, during the time that you did and I know things were different than they are now.

Brent Sopel:

No , it was different. They are now they're still not different. You know? Um, very few people, I still say less than 20% of the world know what dyslexia is and what goes on. So I think the fact that , uh, I was an athlete, you know, playing hockey and , and good at it. They just correlated with me being dumped , you know? So there was no , uh, oh , I, you know, I think maybe it's this, you know, the word I've never heard the word dyslexia. So I was diagnosed. So , um, it's not like it was a war , you know, it's not a word that's thrown around now. You'll go back 30 years ago. Uh, I never heard it. So I don't know. I was tested in grade eight, you know , I had a grade four reading level, but that was it. No, no further, not just, you know, it , basically the label was put on me very early. Um, Domen . My mom did most of my homework and you know, I got a lot of tests, you know , pass, you know, 50% was passing , uh, in high school and I got pretty much every class I got to 50 during this time,

Speaker 2:

People are, are, are saying dumb, dumb athlete, dumb hockey player. And that is essentially being cemented in your mind because no one else is coming in and saying, wait a second, he learns differently. So you're excelling on the ice. But then for eight hours a day, you're having this mantra just hammered into your head over , over and over again.

Brent Sopel:

Yeah. You know, still to this day, I think about , you know, Saya , people will tell me, you know, and you know, you might be the smartest person I've ever met. And I don't believe him , not one, not one word. Um, cause you get something gets mentored . You tell somebody something long enough, you know , they're going to start, you know, start believing that. And uh, uh, even though where I'm at and what I've done and you know, I still think I'm dumb and I think that's gonna live with me for the rest of my life.

Speaker 2:

Brent , how do we change that? Because I, again, I resonate that I still feel the same way. Sometimes there are moments throughout my day where you know what , let's face it, people make mistakes, it's human and I'll make a mistake. And then I'll immediately go back retreat back to seven-year-old call and just be like, oh, you're , you're an idiot or you're stupid. And it's crazy as a 30 year old, that that still resonates today. How do we, how do we change that mantra for people like

Brent Sopel:

Us? No . And that's, you know, obviously the foundation and, and why I've done what my story is not about me. It's about every kid out there struggling. It's trying to bring some recognition to, to what it is. So, you know, nobody knows what dyslexia was 30 years ago. They still don't. You know? And so it's trying to bring something to the forefront. Everybody knows what autism is. That's one in 65 and not hereditary. So is wanting to not all right , Terry next is dyslexia one to five and her rights her . So it's the second, most common thing out there. It's so it's, I'm just telling my story and you know, I want to be beyond your , I appreciate it. Just, just talk about it. Maybe , you know, if it can resonate with one person , um, the earlier you find out you have cancer, stage one, as they call it the better off you are. Same thing. If we were to no one that's , you know, two years old or four years old are great too . Um, I wouldn't have the scars that I have now. Like I got my daughter tested, you got diagnosed at grade two , she's in college now doing great. She's got scars, no question. We all do. That's that's life, but I've, I've got scars that are really open and it'll never close because I went 32 years of , uh, that pain and suffering. So if we can stop that earlier, if we can catch it 10 years earlier, five years old, whatever that is , um, the world's gonna be better off. It's about

Speaker 2:

Right . Breaking that cycle. And it's hard to do, like you just said it, Brent, 32 years of that same mantra being hammered and hammered and hammered, it's become habitual now knowing, you know that it's dyslexia now it's , it's, it's breaking that, but it's yeah . I think people forget to realize that if you do something 32 years in a row, as a hockey player, you're going to be pretty good. Um, and , and to , to break out of that, you have to almost, you have to ground yourself to , to, to what , to what it is at the end of the day. And so what is dyslexia and dysgraphia for people that have no

Brent Sopel:

Clue? Well, the one thing, if you say dyslexia, everybody thinks it's just flipping your B's and D's , there was about 50 other things that go along with it. And the first thing is no , self-esteem, that's what I talk about. Uh , I don't care about reading and writing. Um , that's the number one thing. I don't care. You can be rocket scientists , if you don't have self-esteem you've got nothing and that's all I worry about. And you know, kids struggling at classrooms, you know, can't get this problem. Can't get , it gets laughed at, you know, that's, that's the biggest thing. It's and that's where hockey was trying to boost my , my self-esteem . So it's uh , is there a flip in your B's and D's yes. Is there a flip in your number sometimes? Yes. Um, you know, if there's a word that spell doesn't spell and sound the same, I won't get it. Reading comprehension, you know, goes on there. Some dyslexics don't know their lesson , their rights. Um, some of the most severe dyslexics will never read a day in their life. You know? So dyslexia is a reading portion, just graph is the writing portion is the writing portion and the calculate is the math portion. So you could have one in one of the three, you could have two or three, you could have all three. Um , and it's right at theory . So I pass it to my daughter and, you know, Jensen her, passing it to her kids. Uh, so this is something that doesn't , uh , just stop it's it's around. It's not going in there or it's right. It's there it's passed down, not like autism where it's it isn't hereditary.

Speaker 2:

You hit on something, the self-esteem portion. I think, I feel like if people immediately go to the writing and the reading portion and the self-esteem you're right. If you don't have self-esteem you're fat, there is no foundation at all. How have you been able to help kids realize that the self-esteem is just as important as the other aspects?

Brent Sopel:

Well, you know, obviously , um, a lot of them get excited if they're hockey players that, you know , they can relate and that's why I put it out there. Is it, you know, I just talked to them about, you know, they can do it. We just, you know, we just learn differently, you know? Um, there's some dyslexics out there saying that a dyslexia is a gift you're right. But stop lying too . Before you get there, there's a lot of pain. So don't, don't give me the gift gift comes. If you can find a way to get through the pain and get to understand that. And you know, so kids it's, I talk to parents all the time and telling them , uh, how to handle their dyslexic, you know? So for example, what if dad passed on to dyslexia to the son or daughter while mom's at home with the kids? She has absolutely no idea what is going on in his brain. So then she struggling , um, on how to handle women , what to say to them . So as a dyslexic and that this is what's problem part of the school system, no , you had the superintendents, you got all these board directors or you're not dyslexic. So don't tell me what to do. You have no idea what goes on in my head, you know, it's just like, it's that , you know, that's the hardest portion is I just, whenever that phone call comes, you know, it's bridging that conversation. It was a self-esteem now we ha you know , we have a hard time keeping friends because people think we're weird because we don't see that world that way. Um, you know, there's a lot more that goes into it. So it's just having that conversation. Each call is a little bit different, but it's same , you know , same thing as if they're struggling, you know, the suicide rate, 67% are to drugs and alcohol, you know, suicides of teens have triple the last 10 years. And 90% of the suicide notes left are dyslexic

Speaker 2:

Hockey was your outlet. Uh, and , and going back to the hockey portion, because that, that is that, that was important for you at the time. Uh, you, you had a ton of success growing up, you ended up getting drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1995. What do you remember the most about the day you got drafted?

Brent Sopel:

You know, it's , uh, uh , just, you know, the NHL, just a draft just to just pass and, you know , it was in Edmonton. So , uh, a lot of my family could come down and it was about a five-hour drive from, for where I grew up. So, you know, as a kid, you know, you , you know , play hockey, you go to junior , you hope to get drafted. And , um, you know, I was there, it was another , uh, you know, the grade milestone , uh, you know, in my, in my life, you know, I was, I've always been the underdog, obviously the slowest stare , um, you know, can you make it, can you, can you get the next level? Like I said, there wasn't ever a day where I thought I was going to make it. And , um, you know, the put on the Jersey, I was, I was excited to get drafted. You know, I was upset, I got drafted so late, but it was just another motivation too , for me, you know, another prove him wrong, you know , scenario where , um , kinda kind of where I had to be my whole life during that time.

Speaker 2:

Did that put the other stuff kind of on the back burner and , and , and put yourself at ease, saying I'm having so much, so much success playing this sport. Did that kind of alleviate some of the outside of hockey stress,

Brent Sopel:

You know , um, that pain, again, that pain is always, always was there. It always will be, you know, will always be there. And that hockey was my only focus. So the other world, the other part of the world didn't exist. You know, I I've walked it out. And , um, like I said, they , I graduated high school and I got drafted in the same way . You know, my education probably doesn't take the pass grade eight, the teachers pass me, you know, I didn't deserve to pass. I didn't know what, you know, English final , uh, get a 60 on it. I didn't write a word on the paper. So , um, hockey, I just focused on hockey and I was at and nothing else in the world. And that was just the only thing I could dive into. And it was the only thing that saved my life. You had a fantastic

Speaker 2:

12 year career Canucks, Kings Canadians, Thrashers, the Blackhawks , where he won the Stanley cup in 2010. And I love putting the emphasis on that. What a great team, Brent Seabrook, Duncan , Keith, Patty Kane , uh, Jonathan Taiz . Uh, what do you remember the most about that season?

Brent Sopel:

I know that was obviously a pretty special , um , the fact that I could say , um, you know, my name is on that Stanley cup for, I think it's a vision, you know, an ability to see it for 60 years before it's put in the hockey hall of fame, you know , uh , pretty cool for, you know, for my family, you know, less one person ever made it to the NHL and then lots of admix , you know, they never get to win it. So , um, it was a pretty cool year. You know, we ended up starting, starting the season in , uh , uh, Europe, but, you know, it was , uh , it was a lot of , a lot of stress for me, you know , um, Joel Quenneville , um, tried to throw, you know, throw me in the miners . They tried to push me into the minors next year. Uh , the year before they wanted me, they wanted to bury me , uh, Stan Bowman wanted to bury me. Uh, I had to go back and remake the team, you know , so , um, I had to go back and prove myself. And it was , uh , it was a battle every year, every day for me and sacrifice my body every day for, you know, for that angle . But , uh, uh, I was very close to him , was probably the closest team. Uh, I've ever been part of that moment

Speaker 2:

Where you voiced at the cop , you had Lord Stanley's cup in your hands and you, and you, and you pushed it up in the air. Was there calm and quiet up here?

Brent Sopel:

No, the exact opposite, you know , uh, obviously excited in the outside, you know, still hating life in the insect and no one knew no, no one , no. Um, you know, I , I, you know, I'm almost five years sober. It took me almost dying with the drugs and alcohol I was doing to get sober, to start figuring out what's what all that noise meant. You know, I , uh, if you talked to none of my teammates, they're , they're gonna tell you I'm , uh , they thought I was completely out of my mind, insane , um, things I did my rituals, which now I can look back. That was the glue that was holding my life together because of my dyslexia. You know, I didn't find out till I was 32, so almost at the end of my career, but I had to get sober to see what that was to, you know, relearn and really love myself because I didn't, what were those rituals, you know, drive down the streets had, you know, same music over, had to turn up this time and had to stop this satellites and this shoe on, and this skate on this way and stand up at this time and dance around at this time. And, you know, just, no , I looked back, you know , um, you know, the certain , we always use mental midget, you know, always , you know, make or break it in any sports , the mental side things and guys like, you know, it was crazy what I did, but , um, I didn't know what I was doing and why, but I knew if I didn't do one thing out of that ritual, I've done might as well not have played, you know , I played, but , uh, it, it messed me up. And that was a story that was created kind of going

Speaker 2:

Back to what was really going on inside,

Brent Sopel:

You know, and to be honest, I didn't even know what was going on. It was the fear, it was the, it was everything I was, I would say it was like a blender. You know, everything was in a blender for me until I have a blender stopped spinning, you know, once I got sober and started doing, doing some of that work that I could look back and put , uh , you know , put two and two together and understand what, you know, what all that meant. And that's what

Speaker 2:

I want listeners to know. Brent , is that you could be at the top, the top of your game in the NHL, NFL, NBA, winning championships , uh, you know, tons of cash living it , living this great life. But what people don't see is what's happening internally. And so when I asked you about what you're hoisting that cup was there quiet and just calm . And you said, no. I mean that, I think that's something it's important for people to know, especially now with, I think, I think athletes are more open about their stories and the struggles, because at the end of the day, like we all, I always tell people, we put our shoes and pants on the same way. I mean, I , I tried jumping into my pants,

Brent Sopel:

So the same thing I said, we did know , we all put our pants on the same way, except for women jump off the bed, getting there in the Lululemons . It's , you know what though? It's the truth. And in some ways it's kind

Speaker 2:

Of dehumanizing, like, yes, like, do we tend to put athletes on pedestals a hundred percent, but I think,

Brent Sopel:

No , I don't mean to cut you off there before we go further athletes put themselves there. Some of these fortune 500 guys he's CEO is , you know, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, you know, I must have , you know , the most disgusting man in the world. I can't stand. These guys are , are ductless . They're a piece of. You know, you've got all this money, take your rockets and put away, how could you help people that are , if they're sick that are hungry to be a man? No, you're some, a selfish people. So I think, you know, they put themselves there, you know, athletes put themselves there. No, you know , um, again for money for fame, yes, we're on TV. Great. But we all put our pants on the same way, you know, just be real, just , just be truthful, you know? And that's the , that's the biggest problem here is, you know, tell it the way it is. And that's why I do about myself, the foundation. And, you know, I tell him what it is. I think some of the boards that I get used for my documentary, that show on YouTube, you know , here to change the world, it's raw because that's my life. And being that open is to get a , give a whole

Speaker 2:

Bunch of people, young people, older people, middle-aged people perspective. And then it's okay. Like if , if something's gone, it's to be open and

Brent Sopel:

Honest about it and that's world, life's tough. Just call it the way it is. And the more we do that, don't sugar coat it . Um, cause guess what? We don't get, you know, somebody down that that's struggling, there's no sugarcoat there . Just , just be , just be real and be honest. And that's , um, a lot of the athletes , um, a lot of celebrities, you know, they'll tell half a story, you know, that half the story make it , maybe like, make it look at ground lamb and glorious , but you're missing the whole point. Tell the real part. And then now will resonate, you know, with , uh, with more people.

Speaker 2:

That's the key because if you do, if you give like 70% or 60%, I mean, here's a perfect example, Brent, when my dad passed away in my early twenties, I tried to cover it up, cover it up, you know, thinking I was, it was almost, I was almost embarrassed cause I didn't want people to feel bad because I felt bad on the inside. But I realized now 10 years later that, I mean, and I could still change things if I'm open. And you're just honest about it. Maybe, maybe you will connect with somebody, some of the unlikeliest people,

Brent Sopel:

I think you just, you know, you had it is, you know, just be honest, you know, you attract what you give off. No . So if you're hiding things inside and you're not in good place, I always say, you know, the girl in high school, I always date the bad boy. Well , cause that's what you give off. And I , you know, and that's where you are. So, you know, if you're , um, trying to keep up with the Joneses, you're hitting , that's who you're going to be. You know , um, if you're sober like myself and you know, you attract those people , uh, you know, cause that's what you give off , you know, and, and for yourself and you're protecting your you're , you're protecting, you didn't want to worry about anybody else at the end of the day, there's only one person in the world that you can be controlled . That's yourself, you know , can't control. Everybody says, or does, you know , you can't, you know, and , and the quicker we all were able to learn that, you know, the better is , ah , so-and-so said this, I couldn't control it. I can only control how I react. And

Speaker 2:

That goes back to the self-esteem that we talked about earlier. It all, it all, it's all it all cycles back, dude.

Brent Sopel:

Well , you know, it's, you know, obviously being an athlete and being , uh , why am I in, you know , articles right now that much I socked in this and that and here in my whole life. And you know , um, you just, it's in perspective, I can control myself. You know, if somebody calls me and , you know , scaring an, what did they do? They actually just, you know, said words. I attach the feelings to it.

Speaker 2:

I think the difficult part is not attaching. And it kind of goes back to the mantra of you're growing up and people are calling you stupid. No, you just learned, we just learn differently. But if you take that and you take that onto yourself, you start manifesting it and believing

Brent Sopel:

It 100% and that's, you know, you can't change the past. You can't change the future. You can only change now, you know, we might, you know, I'm not planning what I'm doing next week. I might be dead. That's not more, but that's the truth. So the more we can stay present and live live for the moment, the better than our lives are going to be. How has

Speaker 2:

Being present today, Brent sober and with the Brent Sopel foundation and helping others, how has that helped

Brent Sopel:

Center? You it's, you know, first off I found , you know , my purpose, which is helping , uh, anybody I can and every which way , um, if we give we're eventually going to get more back and everybody, everybody talks about money and , you know, money doesn't buy happiness. You know, if you're , if your heart is full , uh, I get more out of helping people than I ever did raise in that Stanley cup . And I, to be honest, I , you know, I don't talk about this Stanley cup . It's , it's gotten me meetings to build the foundation, but I want my, I don't want my name attached to hockey. I want it to be, you know, my legacy, what I leave behind the, the footprint that I leave behind the foundation leaves behind, you know , um, we have one life to live. Let's make it the best and when I'm helping people , um, that's when I feel the best.

Speaker 2:

Did you ever think during your playing career that you would ever look back and think that in the Stanley cup wouldn't matter, I guess,

Brent Sopel:

You know , it's, you know, everybody talks about, you know, the twenties, this, the thirties, this support is this it's , uh , you know, know I'm 44 brains. And I always say my body's 64 brain , 74 from hockey. And hopefully my hand handicap sticker shows up soon, but you know, I've lived , uh , I lived 10 lives already. What I've gone through, where I've been living around the world at the Brusha , um, you know what I did to myself, it's, you know, it's great. I feel great to be where I am today to be present, to understand , um, who I am and understand what's , you know, what I need and , and what I can do and, and able to read people and understand things. Don't worry. So, you know, my life, when my life was a blender, you couldn't catch a thing. Now I can, I can sit and be present and , and absorb whatever needs to be absorbed. Now I can help, you know , different people in many different times at the same time, because I'm , you know, I'm present on him here. I'm not my head's not over here. And you know, my body's over there

Speaker 2:

Being present is the most important thing and mindfulness and it's, I try and practice it every single day. I'll be

Brent Sopel:

On . Let me tell you , dude,

Speaker 2:

It's, it's super difficult, especially like you're on a walk right in the sun. I mean, you live in Florida. I live in California. We live in two of the most beautiful places that you possibly can and stay. It's all be on a walk and the sun's hitting me, but I'm worrying about something that a meeting four hours later, and then I'll have to be like, Hey, whoa, wait a second, dude. Like, let's take a deep breath. That's four hours from now and relax. Just

Brent Sopel:

Simplify life. I always say, you know , I thank God for waking up people. Like , what do you mean? I get , I think sadly , 2 million people don't wake up. So the simplest things are the ones that , you know, you're talking, you know, baseball, you know, would you rather have 60 home runs or 3000 hits? You know, those little, those little achievements, they pile up on the day and help that self-esteem and that individual a lot quicker than the, than the home runs all I'm trying to make this thing in may make $10 million. No , just, you know, and you'll walk your way up the stairs. It's supposed to happen. It's going to happen. It's not,

Speaker 2:

Life is not black and white. I've lived a pretty black and white life. You're either in, or you're out. You either like me or you don't like me and I , and I was chatting with somebody about that. They're like call . And that is, that is ruthless. And it is because you're ignoring. I wait , like I like to wake up in the morning and meditate for 10 minutes. That's a win. I like to have a juice every morning. That's a win. I like to be showered, workout everything before my first meeting, those are all wins. But if , if you're living this black and white, you're either in, or you're out lifestyle here, you're forgetting about all the wins along the way. Well,

Brent Sopel:

You know, the worlds , you know, there's a lot of , uh, you know, everybody lives in fear and you know, it's not addressing, you know, what's going on that we talk about with the mental health and you know, like you said, when your dad died, he kept it inside. You know, you've got people that I always say you can have, you know , a few close friends, you know, two or three, and that's it. Cause life's too busy. So if you're, if you're a person with, you know, on , you know, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 friends, they're not friends and you're in a worse place than you than you ever imagined in my mind, because there's no time for that. You know, it takes time to take care of yourself and it takes time to be a good friend. You know, it takes time for work to, to dive in. And if you add kids on top of it, there's not enough time in the day to have 20 friends. And you know, it's funny. Everybody's like, oh, how are you doing how your kids don't ask me because you don't care now, truthfully, that's no , they're not doing it because they care. So it's been, you know, for me, it's just being real, being

Speaker 2:

Real is , is something that it's, it's difficult to do because of social norms. Right? I think , I think in a way, like if you, if you go out with somebody, right, and they say, Hey, how's your family doing? And then you say, Hey, like, don't ask me. Cause you don't care. I mean,

Brent Sopel:

You know, again, cause you have a couple of close friends, but most people don't care. It's just a conversation, you know, a flop , a fluffer , I call it, you know, so you know, who does and you know, so it's, you know , and the other thing I wouldn't , you know, I've always think odds , you know, it's not norm or there's no such thing as norm. It's what works for you. You know, what's worked for your family, you know, your marriage or you know , parents and your kid is , you know, Bob made each one of us different. So what's good for me. And Colin's not, not for you. So why are we trying to compare ourselves or put ourselves, you know, up in there. And uh , I, you know, I need to be married and have kids by 30. Why who said, you know, this or that, you know, I should be doing this. No , it's, you know, and I've learned a lot of that with my life. You know, I've lived around the world and athletes and um, here, there, and everywhere and public I and alcohol , like I've learned that , um , on my island, by myself, you know, because I'm different, we're all different each and every one of us.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And , and that, and that's the key. Some people learn different. That's okay. Some , some people take life is not this linear trajectory where you just shoot. At least I'm kind of like you dude, as a, as a TV broadcaster , I've lived all over, you're moving and you're trying this and you're trying that, and people are looking at you, like, what the hell are you doing? It's on , I'm living my life to figure out what works for me. You know? And, and the only way to know is , is to go do

Brent Sopel:

And people always say, I had , somebody asked me how to podcasts. What would you tell your younger self? You know, I said nothing. She's like, well, that's nothing because I've had to go through every one of these lessons to get here today. That's powerful. Brent. That is

Speaker 2:

Very powerful. If someone gives you a golden ticket, says, you can go back in time and change and change something. You think about how many people say, yeah, I'd all , I'd go back and do that. And that is that's powerful, man.

Brent Sopel:

You know , for myself, I wouldn't, I have, I've had to go through all this pain to be here to having this conversation with you. And I'm not having this conversation for me. I'm having this conversation for who might hear this. No . So if I didn't go through all that, I wouldn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation. So everything happens for a reason. Um, I always say, God passes his messages, not in nice ways. You know, if somebody die or whatever , there's a message in there. You know, if you try to pass us a message , one will , things are rosy . Guess what? We're not going to see it.

Speaker 2:

It's about taking those moments, whether they're good or bad or , or just whatever and being in them. But , but also it's about, it's about learning and helping, I guess, at the end of the day, if you take any situation that life throws at you, good or bad, okay, you deal, you deal with it in a healthy way. And then maybe you can help somebody along. You know,

Brent Sopel:

Obviously I had a great career , uh, 18 years for over a thousand games on a stand in the cup, but there's one thing this world that we're never an expert at, never perfect that and that's ourselves, because something new comes up every day, a new meeting, a new person, a new presentation that you have to look back on and evaluate that . And that's where that self-evaluation , uh, really comes into play because you know, I'm a year older and I'm a day older. Um , my body hurts more, you know, we constantly change. So we have to constantly improve. I wanted

Speaker 2:

To ask you this from your personal experiences in the NHL, how do you feel about the mentality of as long as you show up and do your job, nobody asks any questions.

Brent Sopel:

You've gotta be okay with who you are for that statement to make any sense. You know, when I talk to people, you know , I say, you know, when we work together, you know, it counts a lot of people. I said, I want you to look in the mirror, tell yourself I love, you know, what, believe it and feel it. So back to that statement, you know, same kind of thing. You've gotta be able to be where I am and to be able to talk about and be okay with it. Um, so for that statement to boot , to meet to mean anything that you, as an individual have to be secure and good portion of majority of the world. Isn't, that's why it's statements like that hat , you know, happened in , in most companies, you know, because, you know, from the top down, they're not, they're not okay with who they are, you know, and to be open and honest and I, you know, and make that statement means something, I'll be honest

Speaker 2:

With you, Brent , your story. And another guy had on the podcast , uh , carrot , Felix, he played in the NBA , uh , hearing you guys be open about your struggles in school has, has helped me be more open because like I said before, I'm 30 year old man, but I , I still am. Self-conscious about those. I still remember those math sheets, just math and science, not my thing to do writing and being creative. Yes. Math and science. Uh ,

Brent Sopel:

You know , I would say nothing in school was my way, like math, I, you know, reading , um , everybody's out art. I hated it. You know, my stick man had just school in itself and you know, I, it got to a tipping point where there was nothing fun. No, because I struggled the whole time. And that's why, you know, that's why I'm telling the story again is, you know, I'm glad that it's , it's, it's helping you. It's it's okay. It's who we are. And that's why, you know, I had started the foundation. That's why I do what I do. So more people can hear about it. Um, and know that they're okay. And that's, you know, we just , uh, learned differently and no big deal, you know? Cause if you break it down, I , I think what 80% of us have something knows that reader comprehension is that add is Eddie wouldn't , you know, whatever that is 80%, that's a huge number in my mind. It kind

Speaker 2:

Of goes back to your saying that we're all unique in our own ways. It goes back to, it can go back to your life trajectory. Yes. Some people are married and have kids by 30, some people don't and it's some people learn this way and some people learn that way. I mean, I'm a visual learner, the auditory stuff. I, I am going to just, I'm gonna need to listen to it 30 times.

Brent Sopel:

Yeah . You know , and that's the key is trying to get people to learn, know how they learn, you know? Um, yeah . You know, obviously I'm a visual at the same as you and people don't really know what those words mean, and it's tough to , um, tough to talk, well, I need this or this because you don't know, you know, so I think, you know, school is all about money. You know , they don't care, you know, it's about money and that's why it's all cookie cutter. And um, once again, it's just being okay with who you are and you know, it's, you know, a married by 32. No, it doesn't matter again. I need this job or I gotta do this or why can't I be this doc ? No, everybody has a path. Every happens for a reason, I guess, you know what you weren't supposed to be doctor or you weren't supposed to be here. So just make the best of where you are.

Speaker 2:

That's well said very, very well said. And that's why, again, I love what you're doing with the Brent Sopel foundation, helping getting the word out, helping, helping kids, helping hockey players. And , and I remember I was reading some articles and it was so cool just to see these kids or these parents reach out to you. I mean, you're, you're an NHL, a twelve-year NHL vet , the Stanley cup. And that holds a lot of weight when you're a kid and you need someone to look up to,

Brent Sopel:

Man. Yeah. You know, and that's, you know, there's two , I'm glad they have somebody to look up to, you know , um, I'm really the only one in the world telling them , you know, telling them the dyslexia world story, you know, Richard Branson, your embarrassment , again, you guys, millions of dollars. You want to do something. People will talk about it . Surfacely but they're not going to talk about it, you know? And I'm glad the kids could look up to me and, you know, the , you know, and look at the NHL status and the want to sound like a great , you know, but I'm a normal man. Um, and that's why, you know, why I do what I do is, you know, is not for me, it's for them

Speaker 2:

After one's athletic career concludes, how do you find purpose?

Brent Sopel:

It was the hardest, hardest time of my life. And, you know , uh , all four major sports guys had come back from the army, military Navy, you know, all we've done for whatever 20 years, 30 years, 40 years is, is that. And I always say, I ran, answered the railroad at 40 and it kicked me in the. You know , I got divorced. Nobody would hire me, you know, out of learning disorder, didn't have enough work experience, didn't have the education. So still to this day, I haven't had a salary since I left hockey. And you know , the one thing that people never understood, I was told where to be. And when to be from the time I was born. So last time I was almost 40 school recess, time to go , you know, go to school and get up hockey games. You lose that purpose of , um, time. I was, that was a trailer .

Speaker 2:

When you paint the picture like that, it makes sense when you're told, because you're right with hockey, it's very regimented here games at seven 30 , uh , practice, you know , morning skate at eight , uh, go home at, after come back at this time. It's literally boom, boom, boom, boom,

Brent Sopel:

Boom. Yeah. And it's, you know, the same thing, you know , uh, when you go to the military, you're playing football or playing it , you know? Um, cause we don't live in the real world when we're doing that. You know? So to answer the real worlds , no , that was currently Enya in hockey is five years. I played 18, got to play in fear. So try it , try coming to the real-world at 40 with no educational work experience. Um , really struggling and going out there. And now the hardest thing, scariest thing. And uh , you know, it's been kicked me in the for many years. How

Speaker 2:

Could that not be scary? It's I mean, you're stripping away everything. That's been your life. And then they're like, okay, here you go.

Brent Sopel:

You know, it's not, and it's only thing I was good at. And that's, what's only place I got my self esteem was hockey and I still wasn't there, you know? Cause I struggled at everything else. So you took away my one thing I was good at Brian .

Speaker 2:

I have to tell you again, I think it's so cool how you're helping with the Brent Sopel foundation and that's not the only way that you're helping out. You're helping out with your, your everyday job , uh, as the president of horizon energy consultants, how'd you get involved in and again you're , and I want you to tell people how you're helping hockey players,

Brent Sopel:

You know ? Yeah. You talk about wouldn't change my past while the reason I'm out here having this conversation about both horizon energy consultants is because of being dyslexic. So all you want with my documentary , um , there's two kids on there and there's , uh , one of the older kids , uh , Cade , uh, him and I have been working together for a couple of years , uh, together. Uh , he plays hockey and the dyslexia side of things. And um, you know , I moved down to Florida and I had a company I was going to work for a solar company , uh , found out they lied to me , um, got me down here and tried to screw me over. Don't cancel that contract. And, and you know, I was struggling. I ended up spending now six or eight weeks in bed, you know , now what am I gonna do? You know, I talked to cage . He's like, well, why don't you talk to my best friend rock , you know, and Brock's Canadian and , uh , it's got solar company, you know, so Dr. Brock and here we are today, you know, so Brock, you know, started a company, you know, we were in California or Arizona or , uh , based largest in California. And he called me up and said, do you want to part of it? And uh , now I'm running Texas and Florida to open up Illinois and here we are. So go back to, you know, if you would change something to , you know , uh, in your past all one most purple people would change what caused the pain? Well, here I am at pain has gotten me here and allowing me to , uh, you know, have this solar company , um, you know, we can help help every single homeowner, you know, in the United States, which is, we're not selling Tupperware knives. You know, we're doing a good date . We can save people or helping people. There's that helping part again, you know, and I've only reg and I've only hired a retired hockey players here in Florida. You know, we just talked about how hard it was leaving the game. None of us know how to do a resume, how to do, you know, job experience and , um, where we, where do we work? Uh , how do we do it? You know? So I've only hired , uh, you know, tired hockey players so far here and here in Florida. And , you know, ESPN did an article on us and you know, I'm going to continue to do that. You know, I'll help. Um , I'll help anybody, you know , uh, we run in those five states. I can, anybody needs work or, you know, anybody needs solar, you know , uh, you mentioned this , uh , podcast and, you know , you know, I'll give you the discount, but it's, you know, I love helping people. And that's where I am every day. And every homeowner, every person I talked to and foundation is I see it as helping. Isn't

Speaker 2:

It pretty cool, Brent, how you've been able to match , uh , the struggles in school. You've meshed it with hockey and one was used to cover up the other, but now both are stripped away and now you've just put them together.

Brent Sopel:

If you, you know, if you do the work and let it all work out the way it's supposed to you , don't you take a look at my struggles. There's my dyslexia, all my pain to me, counseling, a kid who was part of my documentary to me, you know , being a part owner in a , in one of the largest solar companies in the United States. Like, you know, it it's all works out how it's supposed to, if you just sit with it and be okay with it, you know, I , if you would ask me 10 years ago, I would change this, I'll do this . I , you know, run around a hundred miles, you know, guess what look where it brought me,

Speaker 2:

Brought you exactly where you're supposed to be. And, and this is something that really resonated with me Brock said in an article , uh, you don't have to feel like you have to create a new identity with your hockey player mentality.

Brent Sopel:

These guys come here. I know what they're going through again, you know, it's through my foundation, through who I am, I've gone there isn't much I haven't gone through. So I can relate with these guys, you know , uh , walking up to a door, knocking on the door, pretty scary. When , you know , when all you used to do is dump the puck in the corner and go and hit somebody, you know, because that's all they know is so it's, it's, it's teaching them in able to , they have amazing skill set . You know, I think hockey is the best sports with the closest translation to the real world, you know , uh, baseball, basketball, and, you know, and football are selfish. You know, do you have a lot of individual or you can't, you know, you cannot make it hockey without being a team. And that's, that's the business world. So these guys have some great work ethic, you know, it's just , um, Nope , molding them and helping them encourage them and walking, you know , hand-in-hand with them, you know, you, you , you fall, I fall, you know, we'll get through this it's cause it's no matter what they got into. Um, it's going to be different for us, you know, coming out of the military, if you're stepping into something it's different, you know, it's fine being , I'm okay with them being different because I understand that. And that's a hard part as us. You know, if you work for somebody else who doesn't understand where we're coming from, you're not doing this. Why do you need assistance? As I said, that doesn't work

Speaker 2:

And it can cause you're trying to take a triangle instead of into a square peg. And what's sick world . Is that, is that, is that ever going to work? You have, you have to adapt. You have to adapt. Everyone's different. You have to, well, you don't have to, you, you should take the time.

Brent Sopel:

I want to be successful. You have to adapt the world's changing every day . There's something new. And , um, you know, Brockton, I just had this conversation the other day , you know, to, to build a business and expand you, you have to change to , you have to learn. You have to learn from your mistakes, everything happens. And , and if you don't, you're not going to be around long. And

Speaker 2:

In terms of the hockey thing, you're right. It's not a selfish sport. I remember growing up the kids that were selfish on the ice, they petered out quickly. And the kids that were all about the team, I mean, we were a PVB rec startup team and we played tournaments and be , would kick the crap out of these, you know , high-level travel teams across the country because we all just played together. Granted it was Peewee . We're a little kids, but the, but even at

Brent Sopel:

A young age , it starts at a young age. You know, you knew that at a young age. And , uh, and that's, that's exactly what hockey is all about is , um, you know, for me, you at a young age, is it seem we work together now, you know, go in the office. You may not like that person you got to work with, but you have to just, I , and then like my D partner, but I have to, sometimes

Speaker 2:

You're going to work with people that you like, sometimes you don't like, and you happen to you and you have to adapt. I mean, that was a lesson. My mom taught me Colin. Some days you're going to work with somebody you don't like. And as much as you hate it, take it as a good thing as a learning experience. You're going to learn how to deal with this person. And as like a 20 year old, I'm like, what the hell? I don't want to do this.

Brent Sopel:

I want to know , I know what I'm doing, mom, leave me alone, leave me alone. But it's the truth. It's the truth. 100%, you know , um, again, you don't know, you don't know what path God's got laid off , or you don't know if you asked me 20 years ago, I'd be sitting here today. I would have told you, you , out of your mind, you have no idea. Um, you know, what that path is and where it leads and who, you know, and what do you know? You don't never burn a bridge because you never know when that person's going to come back into your life. And , uh , you know, every day it's a , it's definitely a lesson for, for somewhere along the road. And I

Speaker 2:

Guess the question from early on, cause we dove in deep pretty quickly that that remains for guys like yourself, for me, and for so many others is how do you break that mantra of that? You're stupid . That you're stupid.

Brent Sopel:

I don't think I'm going to change it. You know, I was told that for so long, you know, which is fine, you know, because it's allows me to talk about it. And the more that we talk about it, the more people get educated on it. You have a better understanding. And then it just trickles down to understanding what kids are and who they are at a younger age. So , um, again, you know, you're a lot younger than I am. I went, you know, I went through a lot and I didn't find out til I was 32 33. So I don't, you know, I don't think I'm ever going to change it because that's been embedded in me, told me millions of times. But now that I can talk about it, I can share that. And the more we have these conversations, more people hear it. The more people understand it. Um, I would say you can't get to two to get to one. And, you know, as that train goes along, you know, it goes further down the chain and the younger, younger, the kids , uh, figure out , uh, you know, they learn differently and how they learn and , um , what they need, you know, the better off the whole world's going to be.

Speaker 2:

Would you say that fills your cup now, Brent , that makes your heart full. Just knowing that maybe you won't be able to change certain things about your life, but knowing that you can impact others

Brent Sopel:

100%, you know , um, that's all I care about is helping people. I get more out of that than , uh, than anything else. So , um, that's why I tell it the way it is and you know , um, I'm okay with not, ever-changing no feeling dumb, but you know, by saying those words, there's , you know, another kid or another parent we'll hear it and we'll be able to help them.

Speaker 2:

It would help them get into the mindset of, you're not, it's just learning, learning differently. Everyone is, everyone is smart and unique in their own way.

Brent Sopel:

100% on that. And that's exactly it is, you know, you got different, everybody's got different skills, every single person it's just being okay, that you got some of your skills different, you know, my brain works differently than , than , you know, so it's, it sounded that message to two kids. All right. You may not be very good at reading, right. But guess what, you're good at this, or you're good at that. You know, and th these conversation and saying, telling the truth that , you know , I'm not going to fix it and me feeling dumb, but guess what? I can fix them before it happens. Or, you know, my kitchen kid at 10 years old, it's not going to be , you'll have a few scars, but nothing like 33. So that's the purpose of it. I love it,

Speaker 2:

Dude. I love your story. Um, the honesty, the rawness, and , and that's the idea of this podcast is I want it, I don't want it to be that coach speak. I know, you know, if I'm interviewing you in 2010, when you're with the hot spread and I'm saying, Hey, Brent, you hoisted that Stanley cup. I know with, well, you have like the communications departments and the PR departments. And I know there are so many loopholes, but if there's one thing I've really enjoyed about this is it's a forum to just, Hey, this is who I am. This is my story. This is how I'm helping. And I freaking love that, dude.

Brent Sopel:

Yeah. You know, it's you, if you ask me in 2010, you had the conversation, but it'd be very different because I wasn't okay. You know , today,

Speaker 2:

Where can people check out the Brent Sopel foundation and everything that you're doing, because I want to help. I want to help push this

Brent Sopel:

Forward. And you know, the Brent sofa foundation.org is , is the websites . And , uh, my documentary is on there. It's on , it's free on YouTube. Uh you're to change the world. Uh, I have twenty-five minutes. Um, you watch out , you know, share it because you never know who , uh, I always say you might save a life when people are like, what do you mean now ? That's that's way blown out. Yo , you have no idea what we go through. She , and you have no idea , um, who they might touch. So , um, again, I'm all over social media reach outs . Um, I always get back to people might take me a little longer with everything I got going on, but you know , uh , it's just one day at a time, one person at a time.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate you , Brent soulful. And I have to say, this is a , this is a different looking Brent soulful that we're used to during the NHL days, man, you got the, you got the tight haircut going on. I remember that hair , dude.

Brent Sopel:

I know. I, yeah, somebody said I had to grow up. So , um, again all already got the gray hair. So , uh, all day just kicking in.

Speaker 2:

Hey dude, listen, man, I got the grand white going here. And if someone says anything, I just say it's all that wisdom. [inaudible]

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .