Matt Lashoff: Lessons on Ownership

There are no greater lessons than those that come from failure.

There are many things that separate the good from the great. They all start with mindset. I’m not here to tell you the reasons I think I failed even though you may think otherwise. I am not here to tell you how you can become an NHL player just like the people and players you idolize. What I will give you are some tools that can prepare your mind to deal with all the things you potentially may face in hockey and in life.“There are no greater lessons than those that come from a failure.” What a quote! It’s also bullshit if you don’t know how to use it.

Everyone can regurgitate this sentiment over and over, but the one that holds more endearing in this situation is, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. I have been traded, bought out, injured, shipped across the world, fired, fined, benched, scratched and berated,  sometimes all in the same weekend! How does an athlete deal with all of these ups and downs all of these things which can blow up in your face, some of which you can never see coming? I’m sure some of you jackasses are saying, “I would do all of that if you paid me what you got paid!” Well guy, then right there is the main difference between why you’re chirping and we were playing. You grind through by ownership and ownership alone.

There is no pointing fingers at anyone else – not your teammates, not your coaches – only yourself. If you are to survive and thrive, most importantly, you must take a long hard look in the mirror and try and figure it out, because the only one who can is you.

In sports, the job is fairly straightforward but shockingly, so few actually commit to doing it. What are your options? Watch game film or watch Netflix. Take the extra time in the gym to prepare your body or leave early to play Fortnite. Watch your diet or drink too much alcohol and eat pizza. You own every decision you will ever make, but the most important decision you make is how you react to each and every situation. In this situation, we are talking about negativity and how to combat it, how to shut it out, feed off of it, how to allow it to give you strength instead of take it away.


OK, so let’s actually get to some tangible stuff you can use. If something “punches you in the face” do a postmortem of the whole situation. I will almost guarantee you are still standing. Next, you need to figure out where the flaws were in the situation. Why did this situation go to high hell? Here is the catch, you can assess other’s performances, but the outcome must always be what you could do and ultimately will do the next time you are in that situation. Study it, practice it, and prepare to concur it the next time it arises.

The final and most important piece of this whole puzzle? Own it and put it the hell out of your mind. Do not let anyone influence the way you think, especially about yourself. You have done the steps; you know what the solution is. No outside opinions are necessary.


-Matt Lashoff

Former Pro-Hockey Defenseman