The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club prides itself in supporting the continuous development of its players as people. The latest example is today’s official launch of the organization’s Alumni Mentorship Program.
The Alumni Mentorship Program is one of the many tremendous team and league-wide resources available to Rangers players. What makes this program unique is that it connects the current players with team alumni who have been in their shoes.
Former Rangers captain Ben Fanelli (2009-10, 11-14) and goaltender Jordan DeKort (2013-14) are the program’s inaugural alumni mentors for the next two seasons. They will regularly be accessible to players on an informal basis, either one-on-one or as a group, and will speak to all players as a team at least three times a season.
Since overcoming a severe brain injury and graduating from the Ontario Hockey League, Fanelli has found success as a motivational speaker and host of the Heroic Minds podcast while pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology.
DeKort, who was Fanelli’s former teammate, has also worked to become a leader in social and cultural change within hockey.
After a four-year OHL career, which included 34 games with the Rangers, he created and facilitated a program called Gamechangers. His interactive workshops focus on empowering young athletes with transferable leadership and communication skills for both sport and everyday life.
“The player experience is a priority for our organization, and we will continue to find new ways to support our players and grow as a club. We are very excited about adding the Alumni Mentorship Program to the tremendous existing club programming for our players,” Rangers Chief Operating Officer and Governor Joe Birch said. “We’re especially fortunate to have such engaged alumni – like Ben and Jordan – willing to share their experiences and insights to the current generation of Rangers.”
Head Coach and General Manager Mike McKenzie described how the Alumni Mentorship Program would aim to grow to five alumni participating in two-year spans.
“This program will be a great resource for our players. We already have numerous programs that are designed to help our players in a variety of ways. Still, we are always looking to improve and evolve as an organization,” McKenzie said.
“Jordan and Ben have played in the league as Rangers and have personally experienced the highs and lows of playing at such a high level. They are both a perfect fit for this role, and we are excited to launch this program.”
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