Ryan Lopes’ time in the Ontario Hockey League taught him plenty of lessons at the rink and in the classroom.

Skating three full seasons with Mississauga, Sudbury, and Kitchener from 2007-11, the former forward recently reflected on his countless learning experiences during his time in junior hockey.

“You learn to win, learn to lose, and learn to understand what you gain from it,” Lopes told Junior Hockey Magazine’s CHL Leaders presented by Kubota. “Nine times out of 10, if you do something in life, and as much as you want to win, you may not get what you are looking for, so I learned to understand, take a step back, and to evaluate the situation and take the opportunities from that.

“Another thing I took from it is there is always an opportunity in everything, from the smallest detail to the biggest experience. It is what you take out of it. Learning that from my OHL experience and understanding what it takes has provided that discipline and grit I need to go through life.”

Earning a bachelor of arts in communications from Wilfrid Laurier University – where he suited up for another four seasons with the varsity Golden Hawks – Lopes today utilizes his educational background in his role as an account manager with one of Canada’s largest financial services providers.

“I am part of the venture partnerships team which is kind of a subdivision of the overall bank,” Lopes added. “On the extracurricular side, I play a lot of flag football and ball hockey, any way I can stay active. I think it is really hard to lose that desire to be competitive.”

In all, Lopes notes it was an opportunity that became possible given his access the CHL scholarship program.

“It really set me up to know that there was something beyond hockey,” Lopes concluded. “I think every hockey player lives in the current moment but knowing I had that educational component there was the best.

“As much as hockey is the best, it helped me recognize there are things beyond hockey, and having the scholarship opportunity grew me into the individual I am and set me up to where I need to be.”

Click here to listen to the full episode of Junior Hockey Magazine