Paul Wylie and Alex Aiken

Paul Wylie and Alex Aiken

On my recent trip to the Liberty competition in Aston, PA, I roamed the rink like some kind of fan posessed, intent on snagging Paul Wylie for an interview.  Ok – truth is we had crossed paths on numerous occasions as he so kindly reminded me that he remembered my announcing him during his competitive days about a trillion years ago. That was then, when I still had youth and no hair color on my side – and this was now – as dedicated blogger. I don’t know what possessed him, but he agreed to be interviewed.

The first thing that would capture a person’s attention would be the gracious smile, the twinkle in the blue eyes and the calm graciousness that defines Paul.  This is a very humble man who is not one to wear his accomplishments on his sleeve and accomplished he is; take his 1992 Olympic silver medal or his business degree from Harvard University.

My interview led me to another one of his accomplishments; that as advocate for young people through an organization called Respect in Sport. Having read the story of hockey abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy that he outlined in his book, Paul contacted the author and was compelled to get involved.

The premise is to advance the case for the protection of children involved in sport.  There have been lots of examples of young people having been compromised by authority figures as they attempt to achieve their goals. Respect in Sport offers training of anyone who may have a role in a young athlete’s life from coaches to parents and administrators and beyond.  In Canada, Hockey Canada and Hockey Manitoba among others have adopted this tool and for more information you need only go to their website:

Back to Paul Wylie.  Chatting about his family life as a husband and dad of 3 young children, his involvement in skating as a coach and with Respect in Sport comes as no surprise.  We talk about the impact that the words and actions of a coach can have on their student. Ironically, Paul’s student Alex Aiken performed at a less than optimal level at Liberty and he strolled over for a quick chat with his coach during our interview. “You just don’t know what effect you are having on a young person as a coach. It is something that needs to be taken seriously.”

In observing Paul at the boards, it makes sense that his gift as a coach is being able to offer a point of view born of experience. Nothing like learning from someone who has already “walked the walk.” and who is committed to the progress of the skater.

More from Paul Wylie in his own words:

As a commentator his approach was always thoughtful and considered, something that stands him in good stead to this day.


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