Enjoyed The Journey!

by Mike Weaver,  Monday October 5th, 2015

Today is the day I retire from the NHL and I want to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you.

Looking back at my career I can see that it has been exciting, with many ups and downs, which I would not change for anything. It’s time to say Goodbye and I am ready for the next phase of my life. 

The feeling of stripping the puck off a forward, hammering someone in an open ice collision, and barely being able to stand up from blocking a slapshot in the knee, will be missed; so will the smells of the dressing room, the laughs in the team lounge and the pats on the back after a big play. 

This summer was different. My gut told me that this was my last year.  Even though I knew that I was ready to move on, I still struggled, deliberating on whether this was the right decision. This was such a big decision for me because training for the game has been a central part of my life since my first year at Michigan State when I was 18 years old.  

Throughout my career, every year I had to prove myself and earn my spot, while appreciating that teams valued my efforts and consistent style of play. I never sat and waited for teams to see value in my position and how I played, I showed them.  The expression, "When preparation meets opportunity" sums up my career. I always went into every training camp, practice, and game, giving it all I had. Leaving everything on the ice and playing my best gave me great satisfaction and resulted in a 15 year Pro Hockey Career.

When I first turned Pro and signed with the Atlanta Thrashers, the GM Don Waddell told all the rookies that everyone was going to be sent down to Orlando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League (Ya that’s how old I am) and that we should use this year to prove ourselves. That really stuck with me and after we had won the Turner Cup Championship, I remember sitting down with my assistant coach and now friend, Jim Hughes. He said, “Do you remember at the start of the year when you were healthy scratched the first 8 games?  When I heard they had sent you down, I thought what do we do with a 5’9” defensive defenseman?  After your first game in the lineup I knew that there was NO way you were coming out.” That is my career in a nut shell: proving my ability, creating a reputation and enjoying the journey

I am grateful for an amazing career, seeing so many wonderful places, meeting some great people and making new friendships. 

Thank you to all YOU fans in all the cities that I played. Thanks for all your support and for experiencing this with me. 

To the kids - have fun and enjoy the game.  Enjoy hockey, wherever it takes you.

To the parents - give your kids this freedom.

My love of hockey will be continuing through my involvement with my Hockey School, Defense First and my online drill coaches tool,  CoachThem.com.  I look to forward to sharing these with you and continuing my love for hockey in a new way.   

Je Me Souviens!


Le Dream OUT!!!

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"Amazing technical instruction. The limited number of skaters and high instructor to student ratio is excellent. Absolutely fantastic in all areas.  This is the best camp I have ever seen.  Great camp. I have run camps, coached AAA and been involved in numerous hockey initiatives. This is the perfect hockey camp for improving overall skill levels. Most importantly, my kids really enjoyed the experience while improving their skills. As a parent I couldn't ask for anything more. We will be back next year!" 

Jeff Culhane

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Welcome to Defense First

We at Defense First are excited to introduce the only defense school of its kind. Defense First will sharpen fundamental skills such as skating, passing, shooting, checking, and puckhandling. But what makes our school uniquely effective, is the time we spend devoted to the mental skills and specialty skills we, as defensemen, have acquired throughout our careers.

It is well known throughout the sports world, especially hockey, that “Defense Wins Championships.” Defense First will give defensemen an opportunity to reach their maximum potential and achieve individual success. This in turn will lead to greater contributions toward team success.

We will accomplish this through video analysis, on and off-ice instruction, and off-ice discussions, focused on issues such as nutrition, off-ice conditioning, goal setting, work ethic and character.

As players progress through each level of hockey, the talent gap becomes more and more narrow. Improving physical skills alone will only allow a player to reach a small portion of his/her potential. The players that truly excel are the players who have developed their mental skills as well as their physical.

"We were looking for a defensive camp and we found The Defense Camp"

Chris Collins


Whether your goal is to be the best on your team this upcoming season, to play in the NHL, or to simply play the game of hockey with a greater knowledge, “Defense First” will help you reach your goals.

We at Defense First are very excited for the chance to work with developing defensemen. We appreciate the opportunity to give back the knowledge that the great game of hockey has so fortunately given to us throughout our careers.

We look forward to seeing you at camp,
Mike Weaver & Team