Professional hockey player Marko Anttila in his dream job
I am lucky, because I could turn my hobby into a profession, says Marko Anttila, who plays for the Oulun Kärpät ice hockey team.
My job as a professional player is extremely meaningful for me, because I feel like I am in my dream job. I consider myself lucky, because ice hockey is a professional sport in Finland, which means I get paid for it.
Each win is, of course, important, but perhaps the biggest thing and my greatest success happened at the start of my professional career: I was a rookie in the Ilves league team, showed everyone what I was capable of and became a professional player. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and perseverance, but I made it.
Up to that point, ice hockey had been my hobby and just for fun, although I had said professional hockey player was my dream profession as far back as in primary school.
The coach has the important task of treating each player as an individual and seeing their personalities through everything else.
I do not think I could have made it so far in individual sports, as I am a team player by heart. I have liked all the teams I have played in. I have always been allowed to be myself and share the ups and downs of life with my teammates: we train, win and lose as a team.
The coach has the important task of treating each player as an individual and seeing their personalities through everything else. An ice hockey team has many different roles – for example, not everyone scores, because different players are needed in the team. For the players, it is important that the coach equally appreciates each role and player.
In a public profession, I am sometimes criticised heavily.
Meaningful work drives me forward, even on tough days. I have had many great moments in my career, but also some bad days and sleepless nights, for example when my team has not played well, I have performed poorly or I have been unhappy with my role in the team. In those moments, I have simply pushed on. My motivation has helped me overcome obstacles and tough times.
In a public profession, I am sometimes criticised heavily, but when my own motivation and passion for playing are strong, I can stand the criticism, ignore the mean comments and do my job properly.
I am a good example of how far you can go with hard work and internal motivation.
The 2019 World Championships and the publicity that followed are something that I did not understand properly until afterwards – suddenly, I was known all over the country as Mörkö and the captain of the champions . This shows how important ice hockey is in Finland and how lucky I am to play it as a professional.
Another source of meaning in my work is the fact that I know I am a role model for many young people and people follow me. I meet young people all the time when I go to places, and I want to encourage them to follow their dreams.
I am a good example of how far you can go with hard work and internal motivation, even if you are not the most talented player at junior level. We should always encourage young people to pursue their dreams rather than crush them.
When my career as a player is over, I honestly do not think I will ever be able find another profession that I love this much. Finding my passion and doing it for my job makes me feel privileged.