No stranger to doc­tors

For­mer pro hockey player bound for med school


As a well-trav­elled hockey player, Up­per Is­land Cove’s Robert Slaney has had his fair share of in­juries.

Dur­ing stints in ma­jor ju­nior, pro­fes­sional and pro­vin­cial se­nior hockey ranks, he has in­jured both shoul­ders, frac­tured his jaw mul­ti­ple times and ex­pe­ri­enced bro­ken or­bital bones, along with the many bumps and bruises that come with the rigours of play­ing a con­tact sport at a high level.

So, it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about deal­ing with the men­tal and phys­i­cal strain in­juries can place on an ath­lete.

Re­cently ac­cepted to at­tend med­i­cal school at Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity in St. John’s, Slaney aims to put that knowl­edge to good use in his fu­ture ca­reer as a physi­cian.

“A big thing about be­ing a physi­cian is be­ing able to re­late to your pa­tients,” he said. “If I can make that con­nec­tion and show that I’ve dealt with this and I know what they’re go­ing through then that’ll help me even fur­ther.”

For Slaney, who is cur­rently fin­ish­ing a de­gree at St. Fran­cis Xavier Uni­ver­sity in Antigo­nish, N.S., med school rep­re­sents a re­turn to his home prov­ince. He will be living in St. John’s while at­tend­ing school.

That means see­ing fam­ily and friends on a regular ba­sis.

But, it’s not the only as­pect that drew Slaney to Me­mo­rial. It is also the rep­u­ta­tion that the med school has in the med­i­cal world. Slaney is plan­ning to spe­cial­ize in ei­ther ru­ral medicine or the emer­gency room, but he has a cou­ple of years to de­cide that.

“Any­body I talk too, in­clud­ing past physi­cians or cur­rent stu­dents, the level of ed­u­ca­tion and hands on (ex­pe­ri­ence) they give you is sec­ond to none,” said Slaney. “That’s ex­actly what I want — to be in that sit­u­a­tion and to be work­ing with my hands.

“That’s No. 1 for me.”

God­frey Award

At each of his stops along this

A big thing about be­ing a physi­cian is be­ing able to re­late to your pa­tients.

Robert Slaney

jour­ney, Slaney has made it a point to get out into the com­mu­nity and help out where he could.

For this work, he was named the re­cip­i­ent of the Go­drey Award for stu­dent-ath­lete com­mu­nity ser­vice by Canadian In­teruni­ver­sity Sport.

It is an award that hits home for Slaney. He likens Antigo­nish to a small town in New­found­land. The hockey team is the only such team in town and peo­ple look up to the play­ers.

That’s why he got in­volved in the pro­gram Fit for Tots and Fit for Kids.

“Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els of kids and phys­i­cal fit­ness lev­els of kids has de­creased over the past few years and I think the pro­mo­tion of phys­i­cal fit­ness is a good way to (re­verse) that trend,” said Slaney. “It is a way that I can give back to the kids and try and get them ac­tive and hope­fully just cre­ate some level of en­joy­ment for them.

“En­joy­ment cor­re­lates with con­tin­ued ac­tiv­ity. If I can make it a bit ex­cit­ing for them, hope­fully I can keep it up.”

Hockey has been a big part of Slaney’s life since grow­ing up in the Cee Bees Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion as a young­ster. He was a farm­hand for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mon­treal Cana­di­ens, won a Herder Me­mo­rial cham­pi­onship with the Cee Bees, and re­cently par­tic­i­pated in the CIS cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment in Hal­i­fax, where his team lost to Al­berta in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

When Slaney moves to St. John’s, it’s more than likely he won’t have time to play hockey be­yond an oc­ca­sional recre­ational game. The ed­u­ca­tional weight of med school does not af­ford stu­dents time to travel to ei­ther Clarenville, Grand Fall­sWind­sor or Gan­der for 24 week­ends of the year.

That means the CIS tour­na­ment could be the fi­nal ex­peri- ence for Slaney play­ing the game at a high level. Fam­ily and friends were plan­ning to be there in the stands to share the mo­ment with him.

“They’ve sup­ported me so much and as this chap­ter ends and a new (one) be­gins, I know they’ll be there again,” said Slaney.


Robert Slaney of Up­per Is­land Cove re­cently com­pleted his two-year stint on the St. Fran­cis Xavier men’s hockey team. He’s now get­ting ready to study medicine at Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity.

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