Joe Pavelski
(Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Joe Pavelski Knows What He Wants To Do After The NHL

For some professional athletes, the hardest part about playing sports is the anxiety and fear of the unknown once they retire. When you play one sport for the majority of your life, it is tough to adjust to life without that sport. For Joe Pavelski, future life after the NHL is looking pretty bright. In 2017, he founded a sports media company with his friend and former teammate, Matt Fornataro called Kompany 39. The company was originally intended to be used as a digital platform that helps both current and former athletes share their stories and grow their personal brands. That way, instead of the media controlling the narrative for athletes, Pavelski’s company gives those same athletes the chance to control their own narrative and build an online presence.

Just last week, Kompany 39 re-branded itself as TorchPro, and Pavelski has brought on some big-name athletes to join him on his journey including Charlie McAvoy, Riley Sheahan, Mike Green, and Kacey Bellamy. Joe Pavelski seems to think that this is just the beginning of the company.

“Our goal is to get this thing going and grow it as big as we can. As we talk to players, there’s excitement for it” Pavelski said, “They can take control of their brand, and grow it in an authentic way. The culture has changed where people feel more comfortable sharing their stories, and we think we have a chance to create something really meaningful.”

Breaking Down The Humble Hockey Player Barrier

Typically, hockey players are known for their humble attitude and team-first mentality. But Pavelski wants to give players the chance to share their stories and advice to younger players around the world. Charlie McAvoy, who is only 23-years-old, is already buying into that concept early in his career.

“The humble hockey player — which you see with pretty much every guy on every team — is the mold that everyone falls into,” McAvoy said, “I think it’s great; you meet some of the nicest people, some real gentlemen in the game of hockey. But I also think there are people who are interested in our stories, who are interested in seeing athletes for more than just hockey players, and this allows for that.”

Smoothing Out The Transition

Pavelski is 36-years-old and is currently averaging a point per game in 2021 through 28 games. So I think it’s safe to say retirement for him may not be as close as some fans think. But that does not mean it’s too early to start thinking about life post-hockey. Players across all leagues struggle with life after their sport, so it’s important to have a plan. In fact, the sooner players can realize that, the better. The Dallas Stars’ centerman reiterated that point by saying:

“That transition, from everything we know and from what I’ve seen, it’s not easy for everybody. For me, it’s not one foot in the door and one foot out the door, it’s just learning as you go, establishing who you are as a person and what you like, and hopefully it does help when your playing days are over and you can fall into that next phase of your life.”

Pavelski may not be unique in finding a place in sports media after his playing days, but he is certainly unique in the sense that he cares enough to help other players that share the same struggle of figuring out what to do after hockey. Instead of hopping into a booth or studio, Joe Pavelski is leading the charge in developing a platform to get players to build their own brand. Classy move.