Andrew Joy joined the Blackhawks as Mental Skills Coach in 2014 and his dreams of winning a Stanley Cup quickly came true, even though it didn’t come as a player.
“As a young hockey player you always want to win the Stanley Cup,” Joy said. "You never think you’re going to do it working through psychology.”
Joy’s focus is on helping Blackhawks get through certain problems they are facing. Those problems aren’t always on-ice issues. He said sometimes they will come to him to talk through personal problems, family issues or whatever they may be going through.
“From my experience working with athletes, a lot of guys like to keep it hush hush, especially because as an athlete at that level you’re up on this pedestal and you’re not really supposed to have chinks in your armor,” Joy said. “It’s really great when guys are able to pull you aside and say ‘Hey, can I talk to you?’ and ‘Can you help me work through this?’”
Joy was on the ice for the 2015 Stanley Cup win. His work off the ice with the players may have been just as important as the work that was being done on it. Shortly after that season, Joy quickly expanded and transitioned his work to helping youth and college students cope with the pressure and expectations of sports and performance. His company “The Mental Difference” partners with clients to gain greater personal insight and understanding of thoughts, feelings and actions.
See more from Joy in the video above.
This is all part of a larger message and project from the NBC Sports Regional Networks. Religion of Sports — the media company founded by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan and Gotham Chopra — has partnered with NBC Sports regional networks for a new one-hour documentary addressing the issue of mental health in sports. “HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports” is executive produced by six-time NFL Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall.
“Mental health issues have been pushed to the forefront of our national conversation,” Ted Griggs, president, Group Leader and Strategic Production & Programming, NBC Sports Regional Networks, added. “Thanks to athletes like Brandon Marshall, Kevin Love, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin, and executives such as NBA commissioner Adam Silver, we know that our sports heroes face mental health challenges, just like so many others. We hope this project will advance that conversation and show people that resources and assistance are available to everyone.”