Recently, the LEAP team caught up with Stefan Mouttet. Stefan is an international hockey player from the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago and a member of Gryphon Hockey’s G-Team. He has some truly rich experience in playing, studying, and coaching hockey abroad. Read on to learn more about his overseas experiences in both Canada and most recently, Australia!
Stefan Mouttet began playing hockey at the age of six through a junior development program at the Chinese Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Less than ten years later, he kicked off his international career at age fifteen representing his home nation. Stefan says,
“Hockey allowed me to play in various countries around the world, such as Brazil, the USA, Scotland, England, and Argentina, to name a few. Hockey opened many opportunities for me to travel the world doing something I love while developing as a person. It has opened doors for me to play hockey in Canada for Toronto Lions Hockey Club, and in Australia for Lakers Hockey Club, as well as my current club Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club.”
Playing for these club teams created an opportunity for Stefan to not only play and explore interesting places, but actually create a life in those new environments, allowing him to build deep relationships and truly experience the culture!
Something extremely important that Stefan touched on was how playing hockey helps him cope with his anxiety, a struggle that millions of people similarly deal with on a daily basis. He tells us,
…(having) suffered from an anxiety disorder at a young age, hockey allows me to free my mind of the worries and stress that comes with the mental illness.
The love of sport and competing as a member of a team is one of the most healthy and therapeutic ways to work through so many of the things that affect us. Stefan is an example of a role model in the sports world that is brave enough to be open about such a vulnerable topic, and LEAP salutes him for setting a positive example for young athletes going through similar experiences.
Stefan also has first-hand experience with juggling both upper-level studies and his hockey career. His first LEAP was to Canada, where he played for Fanshaswe College and for the Lions Hockey Club in Toronto, while also representing Trinidad and Tobago on the international level. He says this was one of his biggest challenges he faced when it came to finding a perfect balance. He recalls, “I would ask my professors for projects in advance so I could complete them a month or even two months before they were actually due. This gave me time to prepare and compete in tournaments.” This takes some serious dedication and time management, but from the way he speaks of his experience as a student-athlete abroad, it is obvious Stefan thinks all of the hard work was worth it. To sum up making the most of abroad experiences, he says,
Putting in that extra effort can truly make a difference. If you really want to accomplish your goals, that work goes a long way.
After finishing his studies in Canada and returning home, Stefan was ready to take his next LEAP to Australia! He started with representing Lakers Hockey Club, and now he is currently with Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club. This move was a highly anticipated one, as he says,
Growing up, I always admired the Australian standard of playing. Having watched some of the greats who played for Australia, I wanted to play there, so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped on it immediately.
Though he mentions that he greatly misses his friends and family back home, the support and welcoming nature he has received from his new community has been amazing.
Speaking of hockey, he says,
I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback that helps me improve as a player so I’m very grateful to be a part of it all.
He notes that hockey in Trinidad and Tobago has
a bit more individual flair to it, whereas the Australian style is a lot more attacking, end-to-end play.
We often hear of the consistently competitive reputation of the Australian league, and Stefan attributes this to the amount of players there who are pushing to compete at the highest level. As a result, he reports that the competitiveness of playing in Perth, along with the hockey culture and the greater knowledge of the game he has acquired, have been the best parts of his abroad experience in Australia.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Stefan’s time in Perth has been his opportunity to become a coach. On this new experience, he says,
Coaching various high-performance programs across Western Australia has taught me to appreciate the basics of the game a lot more. Giving back to the sport that opened up my world is also an amazing feeling. Passing on my knowledge and experience of the game also helped me develop as a player. This new generation of players is extremely creative and they aren’t afraid to express themselves on and off the pitch.
This culture of giving back to the game is so important for the future of hockey across the world, and it’s thanks to players like Stefan that the future is sure to be bright!
When we asked Stefan if he encourages other athletes to pursue experiences in different countries, he said,
Of course. It’s an experience and a privilege to play abroad. You learn about the different hockey cultures and approaches to the game, but most importantly, you learn about yourself.
Now, Stefan has big things on the horizon. He is focusing on his return to the league in Perth, but the Pan American Cup is right around the corner for Trinidad and Tobago, so he is looking forward to joining the team in efforts to secure a spot for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
As a Gryphon Hockey athlete, Stefan perfectly upholds the values of the G-Team as he lives out a true Gryphon-Life, both as a player and as a coach! Gryphon believes that every hockey player plays for the love of the game, and as such, good hockey is made even better through the use of top-of-the-line products. And Gryphon’s products aren’t just for international level athletes like Stefan. Rather, Gryphon aims to support players competing at all levels by providing them with the best gear on the market. LEAP Worldwide is honored to partner with Gryphon, a company that mirrors our own values in a shared pursuit of building a strong and interconnected international sports community. Find out more about Gryphon Hockey and how you can become a part of the G-team at gryphonhockey.com.
The LEAP team wants to send a big thank you to Stefan for sharing his amazing abroad experiences. What’s more, he also provided us with invaluable insight on hockey in his Caribbean home country! So, look out for an up and coming blog on the ins and outs of hockey in Trinidad and Tobago. Thanks to players like Stefan and so many more, we are able to build out our community of international sports through shared experiences and universal knowledge about athletic cultures across the globe. We wish Stefan all the best on this next season in Perth and with his national team in the Pan American Cup!
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