GHP 016: What It Takes To Be A Pro w/ Mike Ouzas
In this episode I sit down with an old friend and mentor of mine, one of the most grizzled professional goaltending veterans I know, Mike Ouzas. Now having played over 500+ pro games, we sit down and chat about his unique experience playing junior hockey in Finland at 16 years old. What it takes to not just play but excel at the major junior OHL level. The systems he used in the biggest games of his career to help him win 2 championships with the University of New Brunswick.What it takes to be a real pro, and the most important characteristic young goaltenders should focus on that will translate well to pro hockey.
- We talk about how Mike went to play Junior in Finland at 16.
- Why people should consider leaving home for the right opportunity.
- What surprised Mike about transitioning to the OHL.
- Looking back what would’ve helped him be much more prepared to transition to the OHL.
- Advice for younger goalies trying to break into the league.
- What it takes to be considered for the Goalie of the year award in the OHL.
- How to earn an opportunity and games at that level.
- Why being the hardest working individual on the team is so important.
- What it means to get lost in the process, and the work you need to put day in and day out.
- How seeing pros at the next level early in his career helped him realize what level he needed to get to.
- If you want to be a pro you need to train like a pro.
- How to eliminate distractions and focus on what the most important things are.
- Why goalies shouldn’t get ahead of themselves, and why they need to be where their feet are.
- The compete level it takes to win championships, and why you never know when your time is going to come.
- The systems Mike used to manage anxiety and stress in big moments in championship games.
- The importance of Self talk, and the internal cues Mike uses.
- Taking it one game, one save at a time, sticking to your systems and your rhythm.
- Why it’s so imperative to have systems that you can rely on.
- The importance of playing good even on nights your fighting the puck, and a roll your system plays in that consistency.
- Dealing with the number of transactions, and how tight pro hockey is.
- Why it’s so important to find ways to win, be a good teammate, and a leader.
- The most important skill that translates to pro hockey for amateur goaltenders.
- The importance of being present, and why you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself.
- Worrying about what you can control, and why you’re still expected to do your job no matter how many games you play.
- The differences between the European and North American pro game.
- What it takes to be a pro level starter
- Why Mike makes a rule for himself to not even look at them during the season.
- Why his eye is always on a championship, and why that’s what he’s competing for every single day over numbers.
- The importance of sleep, nutrition, recovery, and all the tedious things that are required to be a pro.
- How he evaluates his play, how he gets out of slumps, and the way Mike approaches fixing things.
- Why having other hobbies outside of hockey is important as well.
- Why it’s so importance to embrace the journey and enjoy the ride.
- How hockey can build life long relationships, and building.