One day he might end up working in the business side of sports, but Eric Uba does not want to look too far ahead just yet.
For now, as he waits for the go-ahead to begin his second season with the Storm, Uba enrolled in the University of Guelph’s Economics and Finance program, allowing him to learn more about a field he finds fascinating.
“I’ve always been interested in business, I’m not a science guy, but numbers and business have always really interested me,” said Uba
After 134 games over three OHL seasons, Uba knows the importance of education even while still playing, “I think it is crucial to set yourself up with a backup plan outside of hockey; you can’t play hockey forever.”
It may be valuable and necessary for players, but handling academic studies in the OHL can be difficult. Uba faced challenges when he was traded from the Flint Firebirds to the Guelph Storm in 2018, having to change programs, but by that time, he had graduated from high school. In his mind, the most considerable burden is on 16 and 17-year-olds, playing in the OHL while finishing Grade 11 or 12.
“Having to go to high school can be more difficult than university classes,” he said, “During an OHL season, you’ll get back from a road trip at midnight, and then you have to wake up at 7 to go to school.”
Despite the challenges, academics are more than just a requirement for 19-year-old Uba, they are a welcome change during a long season, “I’ve always liked to be busy, so for me, I enjoy taking classes, it is a distraction outside of playing hockey.”
Uba received a reward for commitment to his studies when he was named the 2019-2020 co-winner of the Fay Scott Memorial Award along with Keegan Stevenson. The Fay Scott Memorial award is given each season to players who demonstrate a commitment to academics and community involvement.
Entering his third full OHL season, the veteran has some words of wisdom for the young players who are just beginning and trying to handle a new academic load. “It is about time management and discipline; you go to practice, you may want to go home and play video games for two or three hours, you can’t do that.”
“You just have to be disciplined with yourself, managing your time and designating time out of your day to do some school work.”
“Teachers Life are proud sponsors of the OHL’s Academic Spotlight Program,” says Doug Baker, President and CEO of Teachers Life. “The dedication of the OHL’s student-athletes to their education mirrors Teachers Life’s commitment to students and educators across the province. By celebrating these athletes, they become role models to kids in their communities through their dedication to academic excellence, integrity and curiosity.”
About Teacher’s Life
Teacher’s Life are proud sponsors of the OHL’s Academic Spotlight Program says Doug Baker, President and CEO of Teachers Life. “The dedication of the OHL’s student-athletes to their education mirrors Teachers Life’s commitment to students and educators across the province. By celebrating these athletes, they become role models to kids in their communities through their dedication to academic excellence, integrity and curiosity.”
About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.