Sports & Gaming

Transitioning to the Big Leagues

Wayne Gretzky

Lesson time 09:22 min

When you are hired to do a job, you have to be a professional, and you have a responsibility to meet the expectations of your employer and your teammates. Hockey is a game, but—especially at the pro level—it’s also a business.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Learn From Your Teammates · Learn From Your Opponents · It’s Not Always a Good Fit


WAYNE GRETZKY: No matter what your career choice is, when you become a professional, that comes with a responsibility to meet the expectations of your employer and teammates. Because I started playing professionally at such a young age, I learned that lesson very quickly. Whether you turn pro at 20, or 21, or 17 as I was, it's a whole new world. So turning pro at 17 in Indianapolis was somewhat unique in that sense that I really hadn't ventured past Detroit. You know, we used to play kids youth games in Detroit. We might have played a couple of games in Buffalo. But outside of that, I'd really never been into the United States. And all of a sudden, I'm signing this contract, and I'm flying on a private airplane. And we're flying to Indianapolis, and I'm going to be a professional hockey player. You know, I talked about setting goals and wanting to better yourself at your craft. Mine was to get the junior hockey and then to play professionally. But when you play junior hockey, you're playing with kids. I played with guys who were 18, 19 years old. And all of a sudden at 17, I'm now playing with men. To walk in a locker room and see a player standing kitty corner to you with a five-year-old son or a four-year-old daughter, it's a realization that this is the real world now. It's not just playing hockey for fun. This is a life, and this is a business. And so you learn really quickly and relatively fast that this is very serious now, that now you're playing with men. And this is a game, but the consequences of winning and losing are much more and far more important than playing when you're 12 years old. What I learned day one was a combination of a lot of things, the professionalism from the coaches and the players, the preparation for getting ready just for practice was something unique and something different that I hadn't seen. Because now this is real. The trainers are now being professionally paid, the coaches are top notch. It's now you're doing this for a living. It's not just for fun. So for me, the first couple of days was a feeling out period of getting to know, obviously, new teammates, some of them younger players that I didn't know. And obviously some of the older players who year before I was watching on TV or I've seen in hockey cards that I used to collect. And now I'm sitting in the locker room with them. I remember sitting beside Gary Smith who I saw play as a kid. And he kept putting a sock after sock after sock on. And I asked him why he wore eight socks on each foot. And he told me that instead of his skate being that big, it'd be that big. And that way he'd stop more pucks at his feet. And I thought that was really unique. One of the funnier things that happened to me was, in those days, the players would say, you know, don't wear a helmet. It used to be, one of those things was sort of new kids coming in, let's try to convince them not to wear a helmet, basically. So they told me...

About the Instructor

Over his 21-year career, Wayne Gretzky not only rewrote the NHL record book, he also set himself apart as one of the most accomplished professional athletes of all time. Now “The Great One” shares the moments and mindset that made him successful so you can aim for greatness in your own life. Learn the power of an athlete’s mindset and tap into passion, motivation, and dedication. Get ready to take your biggest shot yet.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Wayne Gretzky

NHL star Wayne Gretzky shares his journey and his approach to a winning mindset, from tapping into your true passion to committing to success every day.

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