Saturday, 20 October 2012

Brains With Brawn

If you mention the name "Jim Kyte" to any Winnipeg Jets fan, you may get a wide-range of reactions: eye-rolling, head-shaking, and memory-evoking. Jim Kyte, a rugged defenceman who played with the Jets, Penguins, Flames, Senators, and Sharks, is actually a highly-recognized academic since retiring, and will be honoured with a gold medal for the best thesis from Royal Roads! For all of those who once described him as a "cement head", look's like the joke is actually on you as Jim Kyte is quite an accomplished academic!

The winner of this year's Governor General's Gold Medal - Jim Kyte - will receive his MBA degree and the gold medal, awarded for the best thesis or graduate project, at Royal Roads University's fall convocation on Tuesday, October 23. Kyte's thesis was on the span of control of an academic chair at an Ontario post-secondary institution. He surveyed several institutions and then made recommendations on pay scales and reporting structures. His advisor said the project was of doctoral excellence.

After being recognized as the NHL's first deaf hockey player, Kyte's career was derailed in a car accident as he suffered from post-concussion syndrome. After some dark days in dealing with that injury, Kyte rebounded to write for the Ottawa Citizen and became a public speaker for the National Speakers Bureau. It's one thing to live a normal life after suffering from post-concussion syndrome, but Kyte showed that, similar to his NHL career, he would battle hard to succeed.

And succeed he did! From there, he developed the Sport Business Management graduate program at Algonquin College in Ottawa where he is now the academic chair of the School of Business. So not only did he become a successful writer and a public speaker, he developed an entire accredited graduate program and became the chair of a recognized school of business!

"I had a lot of people tell me I couldn't do things because of my hearing impairment," says Kyte, "But I had a good role model in my house (in my father) and he said, 'You may have a handicap, but you don't have a disability.'"

If you're a parent of someone or are someone with an impairment, Jim Kyte should be an inspiration for you. The man has overcome huge odds to succeed as an NHL player, and has gone on to accomplish so much more in spite of his recognition as the NHL's first deaf player. I'm inspired by Mr. Kyte, and I have full hearing!

Congratulations go out to Mr. Kyte for his excellent work on his thesis, and you have a supporter in me. I wish nothing but the best in the future for Mr. Kyte, and I'm happy that he's thriving and succeeding in life after hockey and a horrible injury.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Peter Santellan said...

His last year in hockey, he played for Kansas City of the IHL. That was the year (1996-97) the Blades stopped being an affiliate to the Sharks, even though Kyte played for the Sharks the two years prior. If I remember correctly, the Blades were competitive in the time they were the Sharks' affiliate, but were not much of a factor once the agreement ended.