Player Spotlight : Brad Stebner, Captain of the Michigan Tech HuskiesApril 10, 2014
What is your favorite part of being on the Huskies and playing college hockey?
The best part is the friendship and camaraderie that you develop with your teammates. Not only do you get to travel the country and play in front of great crowds and atmospheres, but you also get to battle alongside your brothers and that bond cannot be broken. I have made some of my best friends playing college hockey and shared some of the greatest memories of my life.
What is your favorite verse? Why?
My favorite verse can change with my mood or situation but right now the one that stands out in my mind is Matthew 25:14-30. I really like the parable of the talents and how Jesus talks about the man giving his servants talents according to their abilities and expecting a return on this ‘investment.’ I feel that this verse is relatable because God has blessed me with so many gifts in this life whether its hockey or my academics or perhaps my leadership skills and spiritual gifts. With this in mind I feel that he expects me to live my life through him and according to him then and wants me to pass on his word and perform my best on the ice and the classroom to give thanks to him, to praise him, and give glory to him. For hockey, it represents a reminder to not waste my talents but instead push myself and bring my best everyday.
What helps you stay focused on God during the hockey season?
Although I love the game of hockey there are certainly times of difficulty, hardship, and stress and therefore I pray regularly to stay focused on God throughout the season. On a daily basis I pray for strength to get through some of the more difficult times or times when I’m struggling or frustrated and I thank God when things are going well and for such an incredible opportunity he has given me. Between praying and reading my Hockey Ministries bible daily I also like to attend Chapel every week. It provides an opportunity to look deeper into the meanings of specific verses and helps me relate the Bible to everything I’m doing on the ice or in the classroom. Also I think chapel is a great way to share God’s word with your teammates and friends and I have developed stronger and deeper friendships through the time together.
What has been a major challenge for you and what has helped you overcome it (or working on overcoming it)?
Being away from home has probably been the most difficult challenge associated with my hockey career. At a certain point in your life you are likely going to have to move away from home to pursue your career and dreams. Obviously this is a big sacrifice and I have missed my mom, dad, two brothers and my now wife over the last few years. To get through this I communicate with my family on a daily basis and try to stay as close as possible with them. I also make sure that I really appreciate the time we get in the off-season and whenever they come down and visit. To me family is so important in life and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without them so I value that relationships and try to share every moment with them. I also look to them for strength and support when I’ve had to make tough decisions or had a bad week. Prayer also helps and my family and wife especially try to utilize it as much as possible to stay close and stay strong for each other, you can never be lonely with God by your side.
What is your favorite food? What do you eat before games?
Either a nice big barbequed steak and baked potato or a night out at a sushi restaurant. Before games I keep it pretty simple, I like to eat a few chicken breasts, pasta and marinara sauce, and any type of veggies.
Who is your favorite player? Why?
I am a defenseman so growing up I really liked Chris Pronger because he was a big, strong, tough, mean defenseman who could score and do it all but as I got older I really started to admire Shane Doan. I grew up in Forestburg, Alberta, which is less than 50km from where Shane Doan grew up so as I began to move up in hockey I heard a lot about him as he started in the NHL. In fact at my Mom’s work they had a signed stick that Shane Doan had given them and I remember being so impressed that they had a real NHLer’s stick and actually remember the fact that he had scripture written on his stick. Being pretty young I didn’t think too much of it but as I grew up I really appreciated that moment and continued to follow his career carefully as he had more and more success in the NHL. I think that he is a great leader, probably one of the best captains to play the game, and that’s a significant trait that I value in a hockey player. Also he works hard and gives his best to his teammates every night. The fact that he is dedicated to Jesus and lives his life in a way that I look up to is obviously a major factor and players like him were what got me interested in Hockey Ministries and got me excited about my first chapel in junior hockey.
What do you do before games to get yourself ready?
Before games I have the same routine to make sure I’m ready to go and prepared to play. I have a pregame nap for about two hours and after that the prep begins. I shower, get dressed, and head to the rink listening to some music to get me excited, awake, and fired up to play. Then I go through the teams’ stretch routine, play some soccer, and get dressed. Before I head out I find some silent time to pray and ask God to be with me on the ice, guide, strengthen and protect my teammates and me. Then I visualize what I’m going to do out there, plays I’m going to make, decisions I will be faced with, and being successful through my shifts. After that it’s all fun, I really try to enjoy the atmosphere, my teammates, and the competition.
What is one thing you would tell young Christian hockey players as an encouragement?
Appreciate every moment you get to play this wonderful game, it truly is a blessing to go out there with your friends and compete and play a game you love. Never give up on your dreams and have faith that your hard work, perseverance, and dedication will get you where you need to be.