Seaside Magazine is honoured to celebrate those men who sustain our business community with our fourth annual Men to Watch special issue. We asked Pete Zubersky, Owner of the Peninsula Panthers Junior Hockey Club, about mentors and role models and the place they have in our community. Celebrating Dads, Mentors and Our Men to Watch.
I had coached kids in Minor Hockey for many years and was sure that taking the step to Junior Hockey would be a natural one, another step that would be as easy and predictable in the game as the previous one. What I was not prepared for was entering the business world, an area in which I had absolutely no experience. What other business has a scoreboard that rates your job performance and dictates if paying customers will be out on the following Friday for the next home game? I have always maintained that hockey is an emotional game for emotional people; an owner in the game has to be able to channel this emotion, both on the ice in terms of wins and losses but also when balancing the books. There are men in business and there are businessmen. I started out as the former and believe that through the years I evolved into a businessman.
What has amazed me along the way is watching these young men between the ages of 16 and 20 come through our Junior Hockey program with their dreams, goals and an exuberance for life as they inhale every second of the day. I have been alongside them in some of the most emotional moments of their lives; I’ve seen them in their best light and their worst. Together we have felt the thrill of victory and have also tasted the bitterness of defeat. These ups and downs, struggles and battles have shaped who they are today. Yes, hockey is an emotional game for emotional people!
I have watched a number of these youth move on to the NHL and Minor Professional, but the overwhelming majority reside right here in our community on the Peninsula working as firemen, plumbers, electricians, teachers, police officers, business owners and a long list of other careers. I get many, many calls every year from former players who ask for advice, guidance or a reference letter as they navigate through life and embark on their next career adventure. I cannot wait to tell a potential employer all about a remarkable young man being considered for employment. Last month I received a call from a former player – currently a Jr. “A” Head Coach in Ontario – who simply wanted to say thank you and expressed that his life had been positively affected by his experience with the Club. I am extremely proud of these young adults who are now contributors in our community and in communities around the Country.
Fathers and male mentors are a major factor in shaping the lives of young men and they in turn go on to shape the lives of other young men who follow behind. I am excited to turn the page and read about some of the men in our community who are making a difference in business and, probably more importantly, making a difference in the lives of the young boys and men with whom they cross paths each day.
by Pete Zubersky