Alumni Success Stories

Stephen Lines

Massage Therapist, Edmonton Oilers

Steven Lines never thought he would enter into a career in massage therapy, but ultimately it has led him to a full time position with the Edmonton Oilers. Originally his interest in the body and his desire to help people led Steven to Physiotherapy, but the pre-courses he had to take in order to get to the Physiotherapy classes in University were of no interest to him. It wasn’t until a teammate of Steven's and graduate of Wellington College told him about massage that his interest in the field was sparked. After looking into the College and seeing the focus it had on the assessment and treatment of the body he knew that that was where he wanted to be.

Steven enrolled in the two-year full time program at Wellington College and took the Pre and Post Event Sports Massage that was offered in a three-day workshop during the course of the year. Even now, 12 years post-graduation he still uses those techniques and the approaches to assessment and treatment with his clientele. After graduation Steven moved to Calgary because he had heard from fellow alumni that there was a lot of work out there, and though it took a bit of time, he finally applied to a massage clinic for what he thought was going to be his dream job. He got the interview and knew he had done his best to represent his skills and desire to work in the field. Unfortunately the other therapist Steven was in competition with had 20 years experience. Still, that clinic hired him at one of their other locations and he ended up in a building beneath the Hockey Canada offices.

Steven's clientele often consisted of the staff from Hockey Canada and the odd player. One day he looked in his schedule and saw that he was about to treat the captain of the Women’s National Hockey Team at the time and knew that this was his opportunity to find out how he could get in with professional sports teams. She told Steven that they were hiring for their Olympic year and invited him to come out for their three day camp. He was so nervous when he showed up for that camp the he did anything to help out and ended up helping the equipment guys with the laundry. He got to know the equipment handler and the camp director who had heard from the team that they liked what Steven did. Later on that summer he came out for another camp and continued to volunteer with them for the next four years.

Eventually Steven got the invite to work at the Lotto Cup in Slovakia and then the World Hockey Juniors in 2007. He continued to work at the clinic and ended up working with a lot of the Calgary Stampeders, before he finally got a job with their team as the equipment manager who did massage therapy as well. Steven continued to work at the clinic and eventually the GM for the Oilers at the time got wind of what he was doing and the results he was having with some of his players. Their massage therapist was retiring at that point and Steven knew it was his chance to get to the NHL. He got the interview and the job and the rest is history.

Working with an NHL team isn’t as glamorous as it may seem at first but Steven absolutely loves his job. He doesn’t just show up to work, massage a couple players, watch the game and go home. During the season he starts his day around 6:30am with three other therapists and equipment guys and they start to get things ready for the day. Steven's main job is to do massage, but when he's not working with the players he looks for other tasks that need to be done like ready the hot and cold tubs, stock the fridges, do laundry, help put out jerseys and clean up the stalls. Sometimes he makes oatmeal or starts the coffee pot, but by the end of the day it’s midnight before he gets to go home and start again. When the team has away games, they may not get into town until 2am, but Steven still has to go back to the rink and hang the gear or put stuff away before he gets to go home. Everyone works as a team and reaches outside of their job description to get things done. It may seem like a lot of tiring work, but Steven loves what he does and to him, it doesn’t feel like a task.

Steven loves being connected to the College as an alumnus, because the instructors and staff are always open to questions or a discussion; it’s such a good resource! If he had any advice for students or alumni looking to work with professional sports teams in the capacity that he does, Steven would say, "Apply yourself and show people that you love what you do. Don’t ever sell yourself short, but volunteer your time and skills to widen your network and you’ll never know what could happen. The ball will just keep rolling and the next thing you know, you’ll be reaching your goal."