A former St. F.X. X-Men defensive standout is now a published author.
Nathan Chiarlitti reflects on his life in hockey with More Than a Game, providing lessons that can be applied not only in the sports arena, but also in everyday life.
“I wanted people to know that a career is not a waste, if you don’t play professionally,” the former Academic All-Canadian said, describing how he had been “groomed to be a professional hockey player.”
“There are so many lessons that sport can provide that translate into everyday life,” Chiarlitti added.
As a description on Amazon reads “a successful hockey career shouldn’t be defined by championships won, records broken or contracts signed.”
It notes Chiarlitti outlines ways in which hockey “can develop important qualities to help players in their everyday lives.”
“This book takes hockey players, parents, coaches and fans through the highs and lows of the game, season after season, league after league, and shares some of the important lessons that over 20 years of hockey has taught [him],” the outline continues.
Chiarlitti started considering the idea of penning a book a couple Christmases ago.
“There were the ‘what-ifs’ and self-doubts involved but I decided I would regret it, if I didn’t do something,” he said.
While taking his masters at McGill University, where he moved after completing his undergraduate degree at St. F.X., Chiarlitti completed the book over a 15-month period, with the writing process spanning approximately four weeks.
“It took forever,” he said, with a laugh, of the editing process, which consumed most of that timeline.
Chiarlitti noted the importance of “refining his ideas.”
“Holy moly,” he said of the work involved in writing clearly, making his words “flow well.”
“It was time-consuming, but I am really proud of it,” Chiarlitti added.
When asked about his reaction to holding a copy of More Than a Game for the first time, he said “awesome.”
“Obviously, it was a humbling experience,” Chiarlitti said.
He noted his excitement with that accomplishment was short-lived, his attention turning quickly “to how people would react to it.”
Chiarlitti said the feedback from people during book readings and signings has been great.
“They are telling me they have enjoyed reading it, which is great to hear,” he added.
As for what he hopes readers take from the book, Chiarlitti said “it is tough to pick one.”
And, when it comes to those ‘lessons learned,’ Chiarlitti noted how challenges he faced while playing hockey parallel with others in his life.
“They are oddly similar,” he said, when it comes to dealing with players and coaches, as opposed to students and professors.
Being undrafted three times or not getting professional tryout opportunities, helped prepare him for having to apply for medical school on more than one occasion.
“You learn about the importance of perseverance,” Chiarlitti said.
Hockey lessons – such as “putting in the work” and time management – are ones that he has carried into his academic life and beyond.
Chiarlitti said his “favourite chapter” covers his university playing days, including his three seasons with the St. F.X. X-Men.
“I learned so much there,” he noted of his Antigonish alma mater.
When it comes to describing the effect that Xaverian experience has had on his life, Chiarlitti said “that’s tough to do.”
“I have such a deep connection with St. F.X.,” he added.
After leaving Antigonish, Chiarlitti continued his studies – and U Sports hockey career – for two seasons with McGill.
In September, he started medical school at the University of Ottawa. Noting although he has several years to decide, Chiarlitti said he has “great interest” in medical oncology.
“I have been enjoying every minute of it,” he added.
Copies of More Than a Game are available at the St. F.X. Store in Bloomfield Centre on the Antigonish campus or on Amazon.