“The first time was special as a participant, but I got a lot out of being on the other side of it.”
– Joe DiPenta, former NHL player and Stanley Cup Champion
Can you share a bit about your introduction to ice hockey and your professional career?
I grew Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia and played a lot of street hockey. So my dad bought me a little net to put in my basement, and I went down there, and I just loved shooting on the net. I seemed to be a natural at the game. So when I was four and a half, my parents put me into minor hockey for the first time, and I seemed to have some success. And then when I moved to Cole Harbor when I was seven, that’s when it started to pick up.
And I played eleven years professional, seven in the American Hockey League, one in Europe, and three in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. And I timed it well with being on the team in 2007. I think it’s about 2% of players that make it to the NHL win the Stanley Cup, so I feel very fortunate, and almost not worthy in, in some regards, because there are so many great players that don’t, that don’t have that opportunity.
How relevant was faith in your life during your hockey journey?
So when I first moved away from home, my faith wasn’t really relevant other than occasionally, I would go to church. And then it became less and less relevant. Hockey became more of the forefront, and it became more important for me to succeed and to accomplish my goals outside of faith.
In my second year playing professional hockey, it was a defining moment in my life, when I met somebody that had strong faith, because I knew what he had was different from what I had, and I wanted to learn more. And for the next few years, every team I played on, I had a Christian role model, somebody else that put their faith number one, that it was important to them. And it made me more and more curious.
How did you hear about Alpha?
I heard about Alpha through personal invitation. And at first, I was a little unsure of what Alpha was, but because of the trust I had built with these individuals that invited me to come, I thought, you know, this sounds interesting, I really need to do this.
On the first night, it was come as you are. And we had a meal together and I thought, this isn’t so bad. And I remember our table host would put the question out there and if there was ten seconds of silence, that was okay, and then, some, some people would speak and then it felt more and more comfortable to talk. And really kind of helped us open up and really share where we were at in our faith.
What was it like to become an Alpha host after attending as a guest?
The first time was special as a participant but I got a lot out of being on the other side of it. Seeing other people go through that transformation and having them experience the awakening of the Holy Spirit and embracing their relationship with God. God using me to do that was even more impactful than actually attending.
Sharing my faith is something that I need to continue to do and God calls me to do that. The great thing about Alpha is that it gives me a platform to be able to do it. When God is working through me or through others, it’s just a special feeling. It’s a feeling you can’t really replace and it’s the greatest feeling that we can have.