Cara Maximizing Lessons Learned On and Off the Ice
Brian Swane, Special to Canada West
Jon Cara was maybe 15 or 16 years old when he got his rst gig
helping at a hockey school.
Like every kid there, the Winnipeg native dreamed of a career
playing in the pros. What perhaps made this teen unique from his
peers was how much others’ success resonated with him.
“I remember the rewarding feeling of seeing a player think they
can do something and then being able to do it, and I was like,
‘this would be an awesome job.”
Jump forward 20 some years, and the University of Manitoba
alumnus now nds himself as Director of Player Development
for The Rink Player Development, which runs a host of dynamic
programs at its Winnipeg training centre.
For the 34-year-old former Canada West and Western Hockey
League forward, this isn’t just an awesome job.
28 CANADA WEST YEARBOOK
“It’s like the dream job,” he says. “For a guy like myself, anyways.
“It’s a dream job to work from a team concept to an individual
concept in skill-based work.”
Cara oversees The Rink’s development programming, which
includes both team and individual training either on site or
remotely. He’s on the ice virtually every day.
“I think having the opportunity to help players that are
struggling with certain aspects of their games … gure out how
to get through it is the most rewarding part of what we do here,”
If you asked teenaged Cara, he’d probably have gured being
among the very, very few that reach the big leagues was more
realistic than nding employment the likes of which he has now.
“That was always something in the back of my mind, but at that
age you’re never thinking that’s a job that you can make a living
at and something you could do,” he says. “You’re thinking you’re