Passionate About Inspiring Others
Championing Solutions & Understanding of Dyslexia and Dysgraphia
About seven years ago my daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia. It wasn't until that time that I discovered I too had dyslexia and dysgraphia. Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. And dysgraphia is the inability to write coherently, as a symptom of brain disease or damage.
When I was a kid growing up in rural Canada, no one diagnosed or really had even heard of these conditions. Because of my disability, I was often pegged as slow and stupid. I have lived in fear every day of my life from those labels and how it affected my self image. Although it felt differently at the time, they didn’t label me that way to be cruel. My condition just wasn't known of, and therefore wasn't understood. Today things have improved, but there still isn't the awareness or the resources available that there should be. I'd like to help change that. Let’s amp up the conversation!
One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability such as dyslexia.
In spite of my handicap with this dyslexia I became a professional hockey player and was honored to achieve one of the highest recognitions in my sport, the Stanley Cup.
I'm known as a winner and a champion on the ice, and while I'm proud of that success, I will admit that I hid behind my hockey stick for nearly 40 years.
Having the scholastic challenges that I did I had to fight even harder in a different way to be successful. I learned survival skills that helped me thrive on the ice, and now I am passionate about being a pro-active voice for understanding and finding solutions for learning disabilities like dyslexia that both children and adults suffer from.
Championing for Addiction Recovery:
Life after professional athletics isn’t as glamorous as people might think. When my professional career ended in 2015 my insecurities and uncertainties about being stupid, slow or not good enough followed me. No longer able to hide behind the stick I was faced with some other challenges that were new and to be honest kind of scary.
Instead of facing those obstacles head-on like I'm willing to now, regretfully, I turn to alcohol. Alcohol helped me to mask some of my problems for a while, but it created more issues than it solved. Ultimately I knew I needed to change. I found help via an NHL sponsored AA recovery program.
I spent 45 days rediscovering myself and learning new coping skills. I am still in recovery and always will be, but I am healthy and clear minded again. I still have fears and insecurities, but rather than run from them, or self medicate, I lean on and lead with more healthy and productive tools like prayer, meditation and group support. If you are suffering with addiction...don't suffer in silence. There is help...
Championing for Youth Training and Mentoring:
Helping kids in all aspects of life is one of the things I find most rewarding. In 2013, I founded the Brent Sopel Academy of Defense where I helped young men and women improve their hockey skills and mental toughness.
With over 1,000 professional games under my belt and a Stanley Cup ring on my finger, I have helped countless young athletes live up to their fullest potential on the ice!
Today, you will find me at special event sponsored by Coco5.