“I´ve always believed that if you put in hard work, the results will come” – Michael Jordan
I was lucky to be raised in a family that was crazy about sports. My dad was a professional hockey player and my brother played top level tennis. They showed me very good examples and taught me about the importance of hard work and dedication in professional sports. My mom played a very important role as well and was always there to cheer and support me. She also taught me a lot about punctuality and the importance of good manners.
At an early age, I understood that I needed to commit myself to ice hockey if I wanted to be successful. While it was supposed to be fun, it sometimes was not. However, I still never had that feeling of wanting to give up or quit. I always enjoyed being pushed and guided, especially by my father, even though I always secretly knew that I was right and he was wrong at certain things.
When I was a teenager, I never lost my interest or focus in ice hockey. I understood that to achieve my dream of playing in the NHL, I had to work extremely hard every single day, sometimes maybe even too hard. Occasionally, I spent my days off from team practice at the local outside hockey rink in Tampere practicing puck handling and shooting. While it felt natural for me at the time, I now realize what actually made me do it by looking at Jaromir Jagr and the way he keeps working hard every day. I guess it is some sort of inner energy that gives you the command to go out and workout. I still do it these days.
Now that I play in the NHL, I must work even harder to be able to stay at this level and help my team win games. It is not easy, but it has its rewards. Although I am very happy at where I am right now, I still want to be better. I want to move forward and climb higher and the only way this can be achieved is through hard work.