Paralyzed hockey player speaks at Chamber meeting

Published: June 8, 2006  |  Source: sentinelandenterprise.com
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LEOMINSTER — The roar of the crowd, his coach’s tap on the shoulder, the face-off right beforehand.

Travis Roy, a former Boston University hockey player, remembers every moment of the minutes leading to his life-changing accident — including the moment when he couldn’t feel his glove–covered hand moving and he realized the extent of his injury.

“It was at the moment that I realized I was paralyzed,” he said Thursday. “I didn’t know anything about paralysis, but I knew what this was.”

Since the spinal-cord injury, which happened in 1995, 11 seconds into his first-ever shift on BU’s team, Roy has authored a memoir and become a motivational speaker.

He spoke Thursday at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s annual business meeting, advising local business leaders to apply the same goal-setting techniques and upbeat outlook to their companies.

“I have come to find that a positive attitude will take you further in life than any other skill you can obtain,” he told a crowd of at least 150 people at the Four Points by Sheraton.

Roy began by narrating his childhood in August, Maine, as the son of the manager of a hockey rink.

“When your father manages the local ice arena, you don’t have much choice as to spending a lot of time down there,” he said half-jokingly.

He told of sitting down to list his athletic goals one night in high-school, and revisited in detail the days, minutes and seconds leading up to the fateful missed check that led to his injury.

“I lost my balance, which was insane because I skate with great balance,” he said.

The crowd by that point had become very quiet as he described how his father urged him to get up from the ice.

“Dad, I’m in big trouble,” he said.

But after several months of grueling rehab that included several bouts of heavy crying — and several years of reflection — Roy said he takes pride in those 11 seconds on the ice.

“For those 11 seconds, I lived the dream, reached my goal,” said Roy, who has since also started a foundation that funds research into spinal-cord injuries. “The 18 years paid off in an instant.”

Roy urged the audience to routinely test themselves, whether it be in the office or outside of it.

“Hopefully there’s something in your life that you want to see what the maximum is,” he said.

He left the stage to an immediate standing ovation.

Also Thursday, the chamber shuffled its board of directors, as Raymond J. Martino, president and chief executive officer of Simonds International, handed the position of chairman over to Frederick D. Healey, Workers’ Credit Union’s president and CEO.

Healey told chamber members the organization will continue lobbying for a one-hour train ride from Fitchburg to Boston during the coming year.

“The chamber will work to improve rail service to make a reverse commute possible,” he said. “Rail service is a key element in the economic growth and quality of life in our region.”

The chamber also appointed three new board members: Reinaldo Lopez, founding president and CEO of Resource Management Inc.; Paul Gauvin, co-owner of Henri Enterprises; and Ward McLaughlin, president of Boutwell Owens & Co.

LEOMINSTER — The roar of the crowd, his coach’s tap on the shoulder, the face-off right beforehand.

Travis Roy, a former Boston University hockey player, remembers every moment of the minutes leading to his life-changing accident — including the moment when he couldn’t feel his glove–covered hand moving and he realized the extent of his injury.

“It was at the moment that I realized I was paralyzed,” he said Thursday. “I didn’t know anything about paralysis, but I knew what this was.”

Since the spinal-cord injury, which happened in 1995, 11 seconds into his first-ever shift on BU’s team, Roy has authored a memoir and become a motivational speaker.

He spoke Thursday at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s annual business meeting, advising local business leaders to apply the same goal-setting techniques and upbeat outlook to their companies.

“I have come to find that a positive attitude will take you further in life than any other skill you can obtain,” he told a crowd of at least 150 people at the Four Points by Sheraton.

Roy began by narrating his childhood in August, Maine, as the son of the manager of a hockey rink.

“When your father manages the local ice arena, you don’t have much choice as to spending a lot of time down there,” he said half-jokingly.

He told of sitting down to list his athletic goals one night in high-school, and revisited in detail the days, minutes and seconds leading up to the fateful missed check that led to his injury.

“I lost my balance, which was insane because I skate with great balance,” he said.

The crowd by that point had become very quiet as he described how his father urged him to get up from the ice.

“Dad, I’m in big trouble,” he said.

But after several months of grueling rehab that included several bouts of heavy crying — and several years of reflection — Roy said he takes pride in those 11 seconds on the ice.

“For those 11 seconds, I lived the dream, reached my goal,” said Roy, who has since also started a foundation that funds research into spinal-cord injuries. “The 18 years paid off in an instant.”

Roy urged the audience to routinely test themselves, whether it be in the office or outside of it.

“Hopefully there’s something in your life that you want to see what the maximum is,” he said.

He left the stage to an immediate standing ovation.

Also Thursday, the chamber shuffled its board of directors, as Raymond J. Martino, president and chief executive officer of Simonds International, handed the position of chairman over to Frederick D. Healey, Workers’ Credit Union’s president and CEO.

Healey told chamber members the organization will continue lobbying for a one-hour train ride from Fitchburg to Boston during the coming year.

“The chamber will work to improve rail service to make a reverse commute possible,” he said. “Rail service is a key element in the economic growth and quality of life in our region.”

The chamber also appointed three new board members: Reinaldo Lopez, founding president and CEO of Resource Management Inc.; Paul Gauvin, co-owner of Henri Enterprises; and Ward McLaughlin, president of Boutwell Owens & Co.

By Aaron Wasserman