SOL Magazine Spring 2023

That the Minnesota legal professional network has a strong hockey presence should come as no surprise. “Hockey requires discipline, teamwork and focus,” remarks Jon Farnsworth ’07 J.D./MBA, “these skills are integral to being a successful attorney.” Brad Walz ’04 J.D., graduated before the team was formed, but participates as an alumnus. “Hockey taught me discipline, perseverance and loyalty,” he said. “I would do anything I could for my teammates, and I would put in the extra work so the team succeeded. Because of my hockey experience I bring the same attitude to my client relationships and the relationships with the attorneys, paralegals and other support staff in my firm.” Hockey is a mental and physical outlet for Nate Summers J.D. ’20. “After hours of sitting behind a computer or in a courtroom, there are few things better for my mental health than strapping on the pads and hitting the ice,” he said. First-year law student Jill Schneider credits the sport with teaching her time management. “I need to make time for workouts and practice, sleep, school and part-

developed a passion for coaching youth hockey in his hometown of Delano, Minnesota. “I began coaching while I studied for the bar exam and continued once I became licensed to practice. It is an awesome way to network and give back to the community,” he said. Damberg, an estate planner, says that he finds himself putting on his “coach hat” with clients. “Many of my clients appreciate that I approach their planning from an educational/coaching perspective—I want them to really understand their estate plan and my process in helping them craft it.” After a lifetime of playing and now coaching, Brown says hockey has helped to redefine success on and off the ice. When asked to explain how his mentality has changed, he talked about the hockey strategy of rotating several “shifts” of players throughout a game. “As a younger player, I measured a good shift by whether I scored or not,” Brown said. “Let’s just say that with that mindset, I did not have many good shifts. I have learned to understand that a good shift can be defined by smaller successes such as making good passes, stopping an opportunity for the other team or maybe even backchecking hard all the way to my own defensive zone. “Now, instead of telling myself that I had a bad shift, I tell my teammates or the kids I am coaching that ‘we had a lot of good ideas out there.’ Over the course of the game, the small successes add up and turn into more good shifts than bad ones, which leads to a good game overall. Professionally, I use this same growth-oriented mindset to stretch my abilities, push myself and learn new things. “We all have successes every day

that we need to learn to recognize and acknowledge. There will be some tough bounces along the way, but the good shifts far outweigh the bad ones, and the bad ones just become learning and improvement opportunities. Most of us could do a better job with our mindset in the legal industry. At the end of the day, stay positive and remind yourself that you had a lot of good ideas out there today!” Hockey is much more than a game. Yes, it’s skates and sticks and pucks and nets. It’s also the comforting familiarity of the crisp smell of ice when you enter an arena lugging still-sweaty equipment; the Zamboni hum as it rolls over snowy cracks and leaves a mirrored sheen; the skate blade’s edge pulling the ice just right on a backwards crossover to pick up speed; pre-dawn practices; the buzzer blast; laughter in the locker room. It’s pushing yourself beyond physical and mental limitations, overcoming adversity, supporting teammates and working toward a common goal. Hockey is a metaphor for life, and especially for the practice of law.

time work as well,” she said. Third-year Bykowski learned

“several valuable lessons about professionalism, work ethic and discipline” through hockey that he says have undoubtedly impacted the development of his professional identity. Many Fightin’ Apostles players become community hockey coaches during or after law school. Law student Haberman currently coaches a local youth hockey team with Schneider. Damberg

Pictured (L to R): Stella Haberman ’24 J.D., John Greniuk ’24 J.D., Gloria Myre ‘07 J.D., Sam Libke ’23 J.D., Trevor Jones ‘09 J.D., Jill Schneider ’25 J.D. and Josh Damberg ‘17 J.D.

Page 30 St. Thomas Lawyer

Spring 2023 Page 31

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