NHL and the Faith Movement
Bonham: Are you seeing a shift in the NHL culture as it pertains to faith expression?
Cullen: Yes I am. But I think it’s a testament to what FCA is doing and Hockey Ministries. So many of the young kids are coming in and they’re established in their faith. It’s impressive. Cam Ward and Eric Staal, for example, were young guys coming into Carolina. Those guys are stars and it’s big to have those players that everyone in the locker room looks up to. It’s inspirational. These young kids come in with so much confidence in their faith and they’re not afraid or embarrassed or shy about it. All of the chapel services are getting younger and younger. So it has changed and it’s definitely growing.
Bonham: Are the misconceptions about Christian athletes starting to fade in the NHL?
Cullen: Christian guys had a reputation for being soft or not being tough enough to play the game. But every chapel we’ve had, our team fighter has been in there. Stu Grimson is very outspoken. Dan Bylsma, the head coach at Pittsburgh, was one guy that really helped me a lot. I can think of so many tough guys that by definition it’s their job to be tough and they’re all in chapel. That’s such a misconception and it’s kind of gone out the window. Guys feel more comfortable going to chapel. I remember when I first started, guys were nervous about it and it was kind of a secret. There was still that stigma that came with it, but it’s definitely been removed and (the faith movement) is definitely growing.
Matt Cullen is one of several current and former NHL players to be featured in a new FCA Hockey New Testament.
Learn more about this resource by visiting the organization’s official website HERE