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SPOTLIGHT: Jonathan Yantsis

Hockey player turned lawyer– not a phrase you hear too often. Third-year-vet Jonathan Yantsis hopes to challenge the norm.

Jonathan spends a majority of his time doing two things: hitting the ice and hitting the books. He already has a jam-packed schedule with the Rangers, but on top of it all, he is taking two undergraduate courses at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“I am currently taking an astronomy class and business law,” he said. “University has always been a big part of my family and life; it was just something I always knew I would do.”

Growing up, Jonathan has always been a self-proclaimed follower of his older brother, James. Anything his brother would do, he wanted to do. It all began when three-year-old Jonathan saw James playing hockey. Jonathan had never skated before, but he knew he wanted to play and wouldn’t stop until he could.

“There were no three-year-old leagues in my area, so my parents had to find a league in Thornhill,” Jonathan chuckled. “According to my parents, I couldn’t skate until the last game. Some kid tripped me so I got up and chased him around the ice and that was when I truly started skating.”

Let’s say Jonathan hasn’t struggled with his skating since. He is having a red-hot season with 11 points in 12 games.

But it all didn’t come easy. Adversity is something that Jonathan is very familiar with.

“I fractured my hip twice, once in bantam and then once in my draft year,” he said. “It took me two months each time to get back. It was the most painful thing I had ever had to deal with.”

His passion for the game helped him get through those tough times. When you love something enough, you will do anything to get back.

But Jonathan knows that one day hockey won’t be there, and he will need a new outlet to help push past his obstacles.

“You have to think about what you want your life to be like after hockey. The sport is great, but at some point, it all comes to an end,” he shared confidently. “I don’t like to think about that, but after hockey, you have to live your life and occupy your time in some way.”

That mentality in itself shows that Jonathan is mature beyond his years.

During the summers, Jonathan would work at his Dad’s accounting firm to help fill his time. It was through those experiences that he found his passion. Not for accounting necessarily, but he knew he wanted to pursue other professional endeavours.

“Law itself has always been interesting for me. I always took all the law courses in high school.”

Playing in such a high-paced league doesn’t allow for a lot of spare time, especially when taking two university courses alongside a full hockey schedule.

Jonathan plans to graduate with a business degree and then aspires to take his LSATs in hopes of becoming a lawyer.

“Law intrigues because there are so many different ways to deal with each situation. There is still competition in law, and if you have been competing your whole life in sports, it seems like a great way for me to continue competing.”

With that determination and perseverance, Jonathan is well on his way to fulfilling life after hockey, to take on all the adversity’s that life may throw at him.

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