Anthony Donskov

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Hockey Sense: Installment #15: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Hockey Players #6

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Earn It:

When I think of the story of my father’s childhood I’m often reminded of how lucky I am.  I am also reminded that comparatively speaking, I was a spoiled child.  As I mentioned above, my father was born in Europe (Belgrade), lived three and a half years in a refugee camp before a Church sponsored the entire family to come by boat to Canada.  They arrived needing to learn a language, make a living and provide for one another.  Nothing was guaranteed, granted or given.  They weren’t worried about rights and privileges; they were concerned with priorities and obligations!  They worked for everything!  Fast-forward to my childhood many years later:  travel hockey, $200 hockey skates, gym memberships, long road trips, unconditional resources, a comfortable house to live in and a language that my peers spoke fluently!  My father has taught me many valuable life lessons as his lens provides a unique perspective on what it means to “earn it”.  During my career as an athlete, student and now as a man, my father had two rules:

  • Have FUN
  • EARN IT!


“Earn it” is a choice, a conscious effort to control the controllable, to play until the whistle blows, to always say “thank you”, stay humble, embrace the opportunity, and consistently leave it on the ice, the classroom, the gym or the field.  “Earn it” is a passionate smile, a stern look of intensity and a relentless pursuit of getting one day better.  “Earn it” lies deep in your belly, always stays hungry, prepared and ready for the challenge!  “Earn it,” means anything worth having is achieved and attained through sweat equity.  You may never know the value of your labor until you have to “earn it.”   I vividly remember occasions throughout my playing career where my father was disappointed, even upset at my performance.  His displeasure was never about goals, assists or special teams; it was always about work ethic and pride. “Earn it” is one of the biggest tangible intangibles in sports, life, and relationships.  Nothing worth having comes without a little elbow grease, dirty hands, commitment and drive.  The value of a new car, a happy relationship and a championship trophy can all be cherished and remembered by what you had to sacrifice, what you had to invest to earn the rewards of your effort.  As a strength coach I ask “what are your actions?”  “What are your goals?”  Don’t just tell me…Earn it! 


Yours in Hockey

Anthony Donskov

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