Understanding Athlete Adaptation in the National Hockey League through an Archival Data Source

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Robert J. Schinke Laurentian University

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Alain P. Gauthier Laurentian University

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Nicole G. Dubuc Laurentian University

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Troy Crowder Adventure North Hockey

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The study of adaptation in elite sport delineates the adjustment strategies of amateur and professional athletes during career transitions (e.g., promotion, relocation). Fiske (2004) recently identified 5 core motives as the vehicles to adaptation: belonging, understanding, controlling, self-enhancement, and trusting. The goal was to verify and contextualize these core motives with 2 respondent groups of professional athletes from the National Hockey League. The groups consisted of those experiencing rookie adaptation and veteran adaptation. A total of 58 athletes were divided into groups representing the Canadian mainstream, Canadian Aboriginal culture, and Europe. There were 175 newspaper articles that were retrieved using online and library resources. The similarities and discrepancies in and across groups provides insight into this hard-to-reach population.

Schinke, Gauthier, and Dubuc are with the School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada. Crowder is with Adventure North Hockey, Whitefish, ON, Canada.

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