New path for Fife Flyers' assistant coach Jeff Hutchins as sport in abeyance
Ice hockey’s year-long absence as a result of the pandemic has opened up new opportunities for players and coaches alike.
With the familiar routine of training, playing and road trips that a season brings on hold since March 2020, many have had to look outwith the sport.
For Jeff Hutchins, Fife Flyers assistant coach, life in lockdown has led to a new career as a financial advisor.
He has joined Gameplan Financial, a company set up by Paul Sample, who played with Dundee Stars and Cardiff Devils, and features a number of current and former pro sportsmen who specialise in all aspects of business and personal protection insurance.
It gives players a chance to make the transition from the dressing-room to the world of work and business - a step many can find challenging.
Gameplan Financial covers all aspects of financial advice - from mortgage cover to life insurance to wills.
The chance to join came just as the sport went into abeyance, and, for Jeff, financial advise can sit comfortably with game plans once the sport resumes this autumn.
“It’s a good way of providing work for guys after their careers,” he said.
“I see many guys in transition from playing and training to going out into the working world, and that can be a big adjustment.
“It took an athlete to come up with this business - and it provides a gateway.
“For me, the transition wasn’t too bad. While playing here, I have worked in finance services, and was with a bank for seven years, so I had the best of both worlds.
“I didn’t have to make a decision to leave one to start a career.”
With all exams done, Jeff is now a financial advisor and protection specialist - and is busy getting the word out..
He said. “It allowed me to focus on something, and because it is done my my time, it won’t impact on hockey.
“What I do is also at no cost to anyone - my advice comes free.
“It’s about talking about finance and cover, and breaking down barriers to have those conversations - all the grown up stuff.”
The new role comes as ice hockey remains mothballed until rinks get the green light to re-open their doors to fans.
Flyers’ assistant coach admits lockdown has been a bitter sweet experience.
“The positive side has been that I have been able to spend time with my family as I’ve not been away every weekend.
“But the downside has been missing the sport.
“You miss the recruitment and introduction of a new team, seeing it play for the first time, and moulding the guys - and all the pros and cons of winning and losing
“I have played since the age of three - I have never missed a full season since then!”
Regular contact with team-mates and fellow coach, Todd Dutiaume, means the chat about the sport continues.
“Todd and I golfed every Sunday, and every week we’d talk about do we start recruiting?“It got to the stage where we looked at the stats every day and we knew it wasn’t going to happen, even before the EIHL said it was done.
“The magnitude of the pandemic, and seeing the numbers rise across the world put it in perspective.”