Medicine Hat Tigers alumnus Stefan Meyer is adjusting to life as a father, but he just can’t shake his itch for the game.
So it’s only fitting to hear the 31-year-old is stepping away from the playing side and looking into life as a parent and a coach.
“There is still a lot in the tank, but I’ve got to take a step back. I can’t be selfish anymore. It’s not about me, I have to step up and be a man. It’s about my wife and daughter and their needs,” said Meyer, who became a father to Goldie Jaymes Meyer in October while playing for Scotland’s Braehead Clan, of the Elite Ice Hockey League.
“I had to find something that was a valve to get rid of that itch. I’ve played hockey my whole life and I really don’t know much other than that.
“Just being able to get that itch and come to the rink — when maybe you’re down and missing the game — and be able to tell a kid something and see them get those wide eyes and go out and do it, and execute exactly what I’m passing along to them, it gets me that sense of joy, that itch. It just keeps me involved.”
Meyer parted ways with the Braehead Clan and returned to Medicine Hat in April. Since then he’s been giving back to the city that fostered his career on the ice by providing private coaching lessons with Platinum Star Power Skating, a role that combines his pain-stakingly honed skills on the ice and his newly found knowledge as a father.
“You need to bring that enthusiasm, that positivity,” said Meyer, who works as a skills coach with Platinum Star. “Not just when I’m teaching but also when I’m home with my daughter. I’m her father and I need to be an example.”
While he admits fatherhood came as a big change — as welcoming Goldie to the world changed his entire routine as a player — he says coming home to see the face of his newborn daughter became so much more important than any result on a scoresheet.
“I was a player that really needed his rest, and that changed. There was no rest. There were a few games where, I’m not going to lie, I was tired.”
“The highs were good, but when the hockey lows were terrible, when you came home you forgot about them right away,” said Meyer. “My priorities really kind of lightened up with the way I handled myself, but it was good. I felt like I was maybe slowing down, body-wise, but my mind was still there. I missed quite a few games with her birth but I still finished top 10 in the league in scoring.”
When he opted to return to Canada to raise his daughter, Meyer turned to Platinum Star’s Gay Dubeau — who coached Meyer during his time playing in the Gas City. All it took was an email, and Dubeau was ready to sign on her newest member of the coaching staff.
“This is our business and our passion, so it only makes sense when you can get people from an experienced background, knowledge and a willingness to work with kids,” said Dubeau, adding Meyer is a very positive and energetic teacher. “I know that he’s got a bright future wearing his coach’s hat.”
Meyer and Dubeau are two of 10 certified coaches with Platinum Star, along with former Tigers player and assistant coach Jerrid Sauer, who rejoined the team after parting ways with the Tigers in the off-season.
“When I was still chasing the dream of playing pro he was my trainer,” Meyer said of Sauer. “I look up to him as a guy who knows the game, and who knows the sports medicine side as well. He’s just a great asset to have.”
Dubeau added there are only a few spots remaining for fall classes, as the program promotes a maximum of four players per coach during its sessions.
“Our forte is the biomechanics of efficient skating. (Meyer, as a skills coach) integrates another branch onto our tree because it all works itself together,” said Dubeau. “I’m just thrilled. I can’t say how pleased I am.”