Stuart Percy heads up the ice during a September exhibition game.

 

The world over, business schools espouse ideas about how to effectively manage corporate governance. At Harvard where Veritas (truth) is the motto, they thought up case studies as a way to expand the minds of students. Closer to home, Schulich School of Business balances a quantitative approach with management skills. Rotman at U of T leaves business out the title and goes with simply management as their selling point. Whatever eager MBA hopefuls hope to gain they should also study the style of the Stuart Percy School.

“Work hard, have fun…even on my darkest days I can talk to my Dad and he reminds me of this…just go out there and work hard and remember to have fun.” It’s easy to watch Stuart Percy play defense for the Marlies. He is where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there. At the beginning of this hockey semester Percy, as the new man on Marlie campus, was expected to impress with his credentials. A first round draft pick, excellent OHL coaching out of Mississauga, learning from talented teammates.

“I’ve always been a student of the game. I had some great coaches, Dave Cameron and James Boyd, getting to play with a guy like Cameron Gaunce was great. I’m always trying to learn, to get better, to get to that next level. I give credit to the coaching staff here, they’ve been great, giving me a chance to play with some great players and putting me in situations like the power play, joining in the rush…Liles, Brennan, Holzer…I try to pick out little things that they do that I can add to my game. I’m always trying to learn.” After the first month, when Percy was paired with the offensively gifted defenseman T.J. Brennan, it was apparent that some of that risk taking wasn’t just rubbing off, it was being learned and adapted. What was really starting to show was that Percy’s practical learning curve was going to be less dramatic than most. Theory is great but practice is where the truth is found.

“Accountability, that’s the biggest difference to professional hockey from junior. Every inch matters, every shift counts. You can’t let the other nineteen guys down.  Everyone that has got this far knows how to play. There are very few gaps in play.” That is a point that a player can go his whole career missing. To find it three months in to his first full professional season? That is advanced education.

“From what they tell me I picked up a mini stick, followed the action on the TV.” From that childhood experience to now he has never stopped wanting play. No one had to get him out of bed, get him to the rink, make sure he was motivated. These are professional qualities instilled long before he was a pro. Be ready to go. However, the real hardcore plan began when he was a young teen.

“Planning started when I decided, with my Dad, to go the OHL, that’s when we made a real decision that I would try to get to the NHL.” Plan your work. Work your plan. After Percy’s first year there was enough to see to invest more in the NHL outcome. If you imagine that the OHL is like a university of hockey, the AHL is a Master’s program where you fine tune your knowledge and ability and form your own ideas about the player you need to become.

Constantly learn, be accountable, work hard…enjoy yourself. What you have there is the mission statement for the Stuart Percy School of Business, where the advance degree is a Masters of Hockey.  Veritas indeed.

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