Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that your fans don’t know?
Bryan: I actually enjoy cooking, especially baking. My mom and I used to cook all the time together when I was young.
Adam: What are the best lessons you have learned through your career in sports that are applicable to those of us who will never earn a living playing pro hockey?
Bryan: First, to live and play like it’s your last day on the ice, because you never know when it is going to end. And secondly, for me, routines are so important. I learned that through sports, and have found that in my everyday life too, doing things a certain way at a certain time each day helps the body adapt and lets me be more productive.
Adam: How has your hockey career shaped your current mission? And what are your best tips on being able to stay so positive?
Bryan: To have fun! I always had fun in the locker room and on the road with my teammates, so it never felt like a job to me. I always appreciated how fortunate I was to actually love my job. Now I try and bring that same fun and light-hearted attitude to my family.
Adam: In your experience, other than natural talent, what are the defining qualities of a superstar athlete?
Bryan: Superstars are born with a gift and through daily hard work, they refine their craft. They put in effort day in and day out – striving to always improve. That’s what I’ve really seen set “superstars” apart from other people. Once the effort is there, it just becomes a process of practice and repeat – and adding challenges to tasks that become too easy.
Adam: Who are the greatest leaders you have played with and what do you believe are the defining qualities of a great leader?
Bryan: I have been surrounded by so many different leaders during my hockey career. I consider Jonathan Toews one of the best; I’ll always remember the positive attitude he brought to the team and his motivational talks in the locker room. He truly was a person who led by example.
Adam: What players and coaches have you learned the most from? What did you learn from them?
Bryan: My coach on the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel Quennville, always instilled in us that hard work was key. In terms of players, one of my teammates, Marian Hossa, was someone I greatly admired. Watching him prepare for games and practices, both physically and mentally, made him a stand out player for me.
Adam: Who is the best teammate you ever had and why? What are the characteristics of a great teammate?
Bryan: I have had so many amazing teammates, including the guys I just mentioned, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. I am also very close with Corey Crawford, who was always stepping up as our goalie and Andrew Shaw, who gave his all during every shift. To me, characteristics that make a great teammate are a positive attitude despite the game outcome, and truly caring about his teammates on and off the ice.
Adam: What is the most surprising thing about life in professional sports? What is something that would shock fans?
Bryan: We are very fortunate to do what we do, to get paid to play the game we love. However, at the same time, hockey is very taxing – both mentally and physically – on the body. Life on the road comes with its own set of issues, including adjusting to time changes, changing hotels and most of all, missing family events/milestones.
Adam: What are your hobbies and what role have they played in defining who you are?
Bryan: A lot of people know that I love fishing, I could easily be out on the boat 5-6 days a week and just spend the day fishing. This hobby is very relaxing for me and has helped me through my relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. I also partner with Biogen to raise awareness of MS, which keeps me busy and allows me to share and educate more people about the disease on a larger platform. You can learn more about my MS experience at teambickell.com. I hope I can inspire some people and brighten their days with my story.
Adam: Is there anything else would like to share?
Bryan: On a daily basis, I try to be positive about everything. I know I am lucky, because I was a small town kid who got to live out his childhood dream and win multiple championships. And not only that, but I have amazing support from my wife, Amanda, our two daughters and extended family and friends. I believe I am a lucky man, and I am grateful for all that I have today.