It’s one of the most inspirational stories you’ve ever heard — and former NHL player Aaron Volpatti is telling it in his new book.
The B.C. product is promoting Fighter: Defying The NHL Odds, and is donating a portion of its proceeds to a burn fund.
He’ll be hosting a book signing in Kelowna on Friday, 3 p.m., at the Train Station Pub, then at the Kelowna Rockets game against the Kamloops Blazers.
Volpatti played in the NHL, from 2010 to 2015, with the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals. But much of that time, it was as an enforcer.
In April 2005, when the Revelstoke resident was 19 and playing for the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, he went camping with his teammates. He played with gasoline and fire, with terrible consequences.
He suffered second- and third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body.
“To paint a picture, not a nice one, I looked down. I’m totally naked, there’s nothing left of my clothes,” said Volpatti.
“That’s when i realized, wow, I’ve done a number to myself.
“So the first thing that went through my mind was hockey.”
He was nearing the end of his college eligibility in the BCHL, and Volpatti dreamed of earning a university scholarship.
But doctors told him his type of burn injuries would take years to heal.
As fate would have it, Vernon’s coach called him with great, and heartbreaking, news: Brown University in Rhode Island was interested in him.
That was the moment Volpatti discovered the power of visualization.
“That’s when I started visualizing what I wanted almost transport myself into, this other reality,” said Volpatti.
Despite the odds, Volpatti was on the ice with Vernon in the fall, with his wounds still open.
The next season, he was playing with Brown University, and, suddenly, playing in the NHL seemed like a possibility.
Again, he turned to visualization.
“It’s not magic,” said Volpatti, “and then it happened.”
The technique has brought him through every tribulation life has brought him since.
Recently, he put pen to paper and wrote the book.
Volpatti, who’s hopeful it could be of value to anyone who reads it, says he’s also reaching cognitive visualization to other athletes.
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