For Immediate Release
May 26, 2017
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com
Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
Two Stanley Cup-Bound Players Have Ties to Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Nashville’s Mike Fisher Contributes Devotional to New FCA Resource, While Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen Featured in Recent FCA Magazine
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Nashville Predators have been waiting to see who they will take on in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals. They got their answer last night, when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now, the Predators and Penguins will face off in the finals beginning on Memorial Day. The series will be memorable for both teams indeed, with Nashville making its first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history and Pittsburgh looking for back-to-back championships.
A player from each team has ties to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org), which for more than 60 years, has impacted coaches and athletes at all levels for Christ.
Predators’ center Mike Fisher contributed a devotional to the recently re-released, best-selling resource from FCA titled, “Heart of a Competitor Playbook.” For his devotional, “Trust God,” Fisher opened with Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
“As a young athlete, I did my best to balance my hockey career with my faith,” Fisher shared. “At the age of 19, my faith was tested when I suffered a serious knee injury. After the game, I knew I was done for the year. My mom called me and said, ‘Remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. Trust in him and it will be okay. He’ll use it for good.’ At the time, I didn’t want to hear it, but in the long run, she was right.
“Sometimes you can hope that everything is going to be perfect, but God doesn’t promise that life will be free of troubles. We won’t always understand why we’re struggling or why things aren’t going our way. But he does promise that if we put our trust completely in him, he will take care of our needs and give us the strength to make it through the trials of life.
“Trust takes time,” he concluded. “We all love to be in control. I can tell you from experience that it’s freeing when you begin to give that up. Ultimately, the most important decision you can make is to give your life over to Christ and trust him with it. When you can do that, your fears will begin to fade and your trust in him will begin to grow.”
Each of the 31 devotionals in “Heart of a Competitor Playbook” features a “Ready-Set-Go” format: “Ready”—an introductory Bible verse; “Set”—the main content from the contributor; and “Go”—follow-up reflection questions. The devotional rounds out with “Workout,” consisting of extra Bible readings, and “Overtime,” a short prayer.
In addition to FCA leaders, pro-caliber sports figures contributing to the book include women’s national soccer team standout Tobin Heath, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and world champion bobsledder Elana Meyers-Taylor. “Heart of a Competitor Playbook” is published in partnership with Revell Books and Baker Publishing Group; learn more here.
At 40, Pittsburgh Penguins’ center Matt Cullen is likely playing in his last NHL season before retirement. And his name on the Stanley Cup would certainly be a good way to go out.
Cullen’s leadership skills and his ability to earn respect from younger players comes from within, but much of it undoubtedly comes from above. For the March/April issue of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine, Cullen shared his faith story.
He first picked up a hockey stick at the age of 2, was the son of a high school hockey coach in Minnesota and played hockey at St. Cloud State College. But he never envisioned a 20-year career in the NHL. By the end of high school, draft chatter around Cullen’s name was starting. During college in 1996, he was drafted 35th overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now the Anaheim Ducks). Changes were in store for the young player, but he remained focused on the things that mattered.
But during his first few years in the pros, his faith took a backseat.
“Off the ice I was lost,” he wrote, “but on it things were going really well. I was seeing a lot of playing time when I reconnected with my now wife, Bridget, in Anaheim. We had dated in high school back in Minnesota but had since gone our separate ways. We got back together in California, started dating again, and soon got engaged. I thank God for orchestrating that because having her back in my life really helped me get my relationship with Him back on track. With Bridget’s help and encouragement, I rededicated myself to Christ.”
Since then, Cullen said his faith journey has been a continual growing process, especially as he’s played with eight different organizations over two decades.
“With each stop along the way,” he said, “we’ve grown deeper in God’s Word and truth, reincorporating it into our lives and relationships, and being encouraged through the churches we’ve attended. I’m proud of the fact that people know I am a Christ-follower playing in the NHL. Hockey is such an up-and-down sport. One day you’re on top of the world, and the next you’re down in the dumps. My faith helps put things in the right frame of mind where I keep my eye on what’s truly important: playing my hardest and putting everything I have into the game. I was given a gift, and it’s my responsibility to make the most of it for God’s glory. Having that perspective has really helped me handle the ups and downs that each season can bring.
“My faith is what comforts me when I think of my hockey career coming to a close,” he continued. “I hope I’ve made a positive impact on the people I’ve come in touch with and made a difference in their lives. And I hope people appreciate and respect what I’ve done in the game, the kind of person and man I am, and the legacy of faith in Christ I’ll leave behind.”
Both Fisher and Cullen also contributed to the first FCA Hockey New Testament Bible, which features inspiring words from hockey players at various levels.
To interview a representative from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.