Oct 10, 2017
It has been said, even on this show, that putting oneself in uncomfortable situations is a wonderful way to overcome fear and grow as a person. When Mart and Dave found themselves in the weight room at James van Riemsdyk’s home for a rousing sit down with the NHL star it was Mart that was breaking out in a bit of a nervous sweat. Not because he was throwing serious weight on the squat rack, but because the barrel around his waist was reminding him how neglectful he’d been of his own body, at the height of bathing suit season nonetheless.
By employing some of his own MindStrong tools Harv was able to bring himself back to center and both he and Dave were priveleged to settle in with James and comb through the ‘toolbox’ J.V.R. has been putting together over the last 13 odd years of playing elite level hockey.
A native of Middletown, New Jersey, the future 2nd overall pick of the 2007 NHL draft was merely trying to make a run at the state title with the boys he grew up playing hockey on the pond with when the opportunity to play for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan came about. Forced to decide whether to stay with his teammates in the thick of their state title run or jump ship and try-out for Team U.S.A., Mart and Dave got their first look into a main pillar in J.V.R.’s foundation; loyalty. He ended up not going to the try-out and instead went on to win the state title with all his hometown teammates.
Luckily the opportunity was not completely lost as James was afforded the opportunity to join team U.S.A. later on and prove himself to be a valuable asset for the Red, White, and Blue.
After two years spent at the University of New Hampshire, Van Riemsdyk was ready for the next step and he began his NHL career in 2009 with the Philadelphia Flyers. His rookie season found James and the Flyers only a game away from a Stanley Cup Championship. It was a lesson and experience that James would not soon forget, and indeed would only wet his appetite to one day lift the greatest trophy in all of sports.
Throughout his journey and throughout the podcast James shared the ‘edges’ he chases to make himself the best possible player and person he can be. A believer in his ‘work-week’ routine James leans on his attention to the details of preparation to sustain his performance at the most peak levels.
Watching his role shift to a more veteran presence at the tender age of 28, James now works toward his pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup with his Toronto Maple Leafs teammates. Relaxation practices, pre-game self talk, maximizing his training and nutrition plan, and maintaining a healthy balance outside of his professional hockey career, which includes rubbing Marty’s face in the sand during a beach volleyball match are just a few of the things delved into this week as James, Dave, and Harvey worked up a bit of a sweat in that ‘Mental Gym.