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Published: Thursday, 23 Apr 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Choices. We all have to make them; most of us have more than a few that we would like to go back and change. Oh yes, the grand what if can set the mind on a whirlwind of day dreams.

The path of least resistance is often the one most travelled, when the other choice is often the most beneficial.

Greg C. was not your typical eleven year old growing up. He was an average student, average looking, but an absolute power on the ice. He was the lord of the game and just about everyone in his province knew his name.

Greg C.'s career peaked as a first year bantam, again he was tearing up the province and even got a late season opportunity to play a bit of junior hockey with one of the B teams in his area.

Bad choice #1. He suffered a minor knee injury before his second bantam year and he failed to get it properly treated. The knee gave him problems for the entire season, and the schedule never let up enough to allow him to give his knee a rest.

As the can't miss prospect, he was selected in the first round of the bantam draft by a team that traded up to be able to select him. There was a lot of pressure riding on the youngster's shoulders and he made a second bad choice to take the edge off.

Greg's knee injury continued to get worse and the young sixteen year old increased his level of alcohol and drug use. His pregame ritual was spent on the training table where the team wrapped the knee and the doctor gave him the nightly injection.

Greg was able to do what he does on the ice for the first half of his rookie season, than it happened. He was blindsided by a 20 year-old goon that was sent to take him out, little did everyone in the arena know, that it would be the very last time they would ever see the kid on the ice.

A career ending knee injury at sixteen years-old, as unfortunate as the story is, It happens more often than we think.

It was Greg's third bad choice that really set the path for the rest of his life. One evening he took his mother's sedan out to meet with a group of older friends. A night of heavy drinking left Greg in a condition that he should have not been allowed to drive. Unfortunately for him, and every other person in that car, he was behind the wheel when the tractor trailer hit them.

The truck driver tried to hit the brakes, but a light snow covered the roadway and the small sedan was broadsided with the full force of 80,000 pounds of truck and 65 mph of momentum. Greg had shot through the stop sign and was hit on the passenger side of the car. Five of his friends were killed but somehow he survived.  To hear him tell the story, you would think that it was on that night that he died as well. He was only seventeen years-old.

Greg eventually recovered from the injuries suffered in his accident; he spent a number of years in prison and was able to turn away from the drugs and alcohol. He was released a few days after his 25th birthday and tried to start his life over again.

Working as a shift manager at the burger joint is not what his family, friends, or fans envisioned for his future, but this is where he is. He realizes that he only has himself to blame, he is the one that made the choices and he is the one that has to live with them.

For now, he is happy where he is. Now pushing thirty he often looks back at those choices and realizes that there is little to gain from dwelling on the past, and he focuses on the future with his wife and first child on the way. He only hopes to give his own children the tools to make better choices than he did.

**Yes, I've told this story before but I think the message is important enough to tell it again, year after year. Please share with every young person you know.**

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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