In a professional ice hockey career spanning 24 seasons with over 1000 NHL appearances, Finland’s Kimmo Timonen ran the risk of never winning anything.
In 2004 his team made it to the World Cup of Hockey Final. They lost.
In 2006 his team made it to the Olympic Final. They lost.
In 2010 his team made it to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. They lost.
In 1998, 1999, and 2001 his team had made it to the World Championship Final. They lost every time.
Kimmo Timonen always lost.
But just before the beginning of what would be his final season in pro hockey, he faced an even bigger challenge; Timonen was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs.
All of a sudden, just getting back on the ice would be an achievement.
In fact, Timonen missed the first 62 games of an 82 game season and he was subsequently traded by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Chicago Blackhawks in February 2015, just one month before his 40th birthday.
Fueled by his dream to win a Stanley Cup, Timonen was ready to give it one more shot. Having been cleared to play ahead of the trade, he joined a Blackhawks team that was looking to benefit from his experience during their push for the Stanley Cup.
Four months later, and in the last game of his professional career, he finally won the Stanley Cup. After lifting the trophy, the first player Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews passed it on to was, of course, Kimmo Timonen.
Kimmo Timonen lifts the Stanley Cup after 24 seasons in the NHL.
In Finland there is a concept know as sisu. There is no direct translation for this word, but it entails a personal characteristic of unbound determination, courage, resilience, bravery, and perseverance. Kimmo Timonen demonstrated that to ensure his career finished the way he wanted, with a long-awaited victory.
So if there’s one thing Kimmo Timonen can teach you, then it is that of perseverance and why you should never ever give up and quit on your dreams.
This article was published on the one year anniversary of the Chicago Blackhawks’ and Kimmo Timonen’s Stanley Cup victory and was based on an earlier post I wrote on LinkedIn.
Header image from jaakiekkoexpertti.com