‘Speak Your Mind’, created by Seattle Kraken center, Riley Sheahan in association with TorchPro, a sports media company dedicated to helping athletes build their personal brands, and will be centered around topics relating to mental health. Sheahan put all of this together before he signed with the newest NHL franchise located in Seattle. At that point, he was thinking about his next move just in case.
“For the last year I was thinking about what I wanted to get into, and the career is going to end at some point. I wanted to start to build these pillars in a different way,” said Sheahan. “I’ve said it before on the podcast and in some other interviews, doing this podcast is super uncomfortable for me. I’m not a talker. It’s definitely something different.
“When you look at a hockey players’ life. It’s regimented. They’re so used to doing certain things like working out or skating in the summer. It’s so routine every day. This podcast really threw me a curveball and got me thinking in a different way. Pile it on with a topic that I’m really passionate about that I’ve had a little bit of a history with, and I think it was a great fit.”
Sheahan played in the NHL at the age of 20. That’s not easy. There are mental challenges for players well before they ever hit the ice.
“I think it’s hard for it not to be a struggle. It’s kind of crazy to be that a player can get through the first few seasons of his career with no problems or anything. It’s huge to have a family you can lean on, or if you’re from far away, it’s hard to have that face-to-face contact,” he added. “You can now facetime. It has to be tough. You have to come in knowing there can be some tough times. If you come in unprepared and think it’s going to be a breeze, as great as it is playing in the NHL and living out your dream. It’s unbelievable. I still think you have to be prepared with the proper tools to deal with some rough patches. Whether it’s talking to a therapist or nutrition or your sleep, just being proactive in those areas can be helpful.”
One thing we both talked about was social media and how that can affect a player. Players are human and sometimes people forget that.
“It’s so challenging,” Sheahan admitted. “Guys are so passionate. They want things to change so quickly. They want to rebound and contribute the way they know they can. I played that season in Detroit where I scored two goals at the last game of the year but had a long streak of not scoring. That was a perspective change for me. I realized what I was doing wrong. Thinking too much. Now it’s a progression and work on those mental tools when you’re on the bench. When something doesn’t go right. Just try and forget about it and have good communication with your linemates and it all ties in.”
Sheahan’s co-host is Tyler Smith, a Humboldt Broncos survivor, the two offer a unique perspective on mental health and much more.
“We will keep going. TorchPro is helping a lot in terms of organizing and preparing. We did our first episode a few days ago and Tyler brings great energy which helps me. We will still do it. As busy as we are we still have downtime. This will be a great way to work my mind even in the season.”
Joining an expansion team for a player like Sheahan can mean a clean slate and that can be exciting for an athlete.
“You can feel the energy and see a lot of Kraken gear and billboards,” Sheahan said with excitement in his voice. “The area is sweet. It has a super cool vibe. The arena is awesome with the sustainability and eco-friendly thing. I feel it’s a forward-thinking area. The practice rink is amazing and now we’re just trying to find a place to live.”
Listen to the podcast. Follow Riley’s career and inaugural season with the Seattle Kraken.