This week on our Beyond the Checkbox podcast, we touched base with Evan Rand, Director of Hockey Operations with the United States Hockey League (USHL) as his league is taking a leading stance on the mental side of sport.

If you didn’t have a chance to watch or listen to the episode, here’s a recap of the latest episode:


Athletes are now embracing mental health

Sports are taking a very performance-based approach to mental health, and athletes are embracing this. This has helped to normalize looking at their mental health overall and decreased stigma of looking at mental health as only an ‘illness’ thing. Evan spoke about the importance of having a healthy mind and how that correlates with whatever you’re doing.

“They (coaches) are seeing a shift in the way that current players or this generation of players and young adults are carrying themselves and are approaching off-ice habits and wanting to take care of themselves more, mentally.” – Evan Rand, Director of Hockey Operations, United States Hockey League

Good mental health is linked with performance

This link between resilience, looking after mental health proactively, and on-ice performance has been evident for the USHL. Just a few weeks ago the head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Oliver David, spoke to us about how it’s translated to results with his team having the 2nd best record in the league this year and integrating resilience into their daily routine.

Evan spoke about this link to performance for the league.

“I think we are seeing that evolution in mental health and training where maybe it was more reactive prior to this, and you’re going to start to see the shift in the evolution towards being proactive and how a very healthy mind can translate positively towards all walks of life but specifically for our league, on ice performance.” – Evan Rand, Director of Hockey Operations, United States Hockey League

Building a Culture of Care Produces Results

Beyond the Checkbox: Episode 10 Recap

It seems straight forward, but showing your people that you care about them improves morale, their commitment to your organization, and ultimately improves their performance. Evan spoke about how they’ve experienced this with their approach to caring for players in the USHL.

“It’s general common sense to make sure that everyone that’s on your team feels like they’re a part of your team. Anyone that’s coming to root for your team feels like they’re a part of the team. Everyone’s welcome to cheer, everyone’s welcome to play. A player in the dressing room that feels, whatever their background is, feels more welcome in the dressing room, then their output is going to be better once they hit the ice and that’s something from our leadership on down it’s been great and everyone has been very much on board.” – Evan Rand, Director of Hockey Operations, United States Hockey League

Was this your first taste of Beyond the Checkbox? We are now well into our first season, with 10 episodes featuring a star-studded guest list including ATB Financial CEO Curtis Stange, former NHL star and Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster, Kelly Hrudey, Mary Ann Baynton of Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, and many more.


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