Vernon Pro Hockey Player Writes Inspirational Comeback Story – Vernon Morning Star
Aaron Volpatti’s career in the National Hockey League is a story well worth reading.
The Revelstoke hockey product who now lives in Vernon is set to publish his book, Fighter: defying the odds of the NHL. Volpatti is launching the book at The Roster Sports Club Bar and Grill on November 4, where autographed copies will be available from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Volpatti was never supposed to play in the NHL. As an average, undersized young player, he had to work his way – literally – into competitive hockey.
In the early hours of April 20, 2005, Volpatti found himself in a very different fight – a fight for his life after a devastating campfire burn he suffered while camping with his Vernon Vipers teammates. .
It’s an inspiring comeback story in professional sports. The book offers a gripping account of Volpatti’s journey from the burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital to the NHL and his life forging a new path after a career-ending neck injury.
Volpatti’s story is one of adversity, personal triumph, heartbreak, terror and ultimately happiness.
The 2005 campfire accident left Volpatti with second and third degree burns to over 40% of his body. He was told that his dream of becoming a professional hockey player was over.
But after a call from his coach that an Ivy League university was interested in him, he overcame the pain to pursue his passion.
“If you tell me it’s going to hurt, well, I’ve been through that before,” Volpatti said, recalling a conversation with his doctors. “I was ready to die before I gave up on that dream.”
Volpatti then attended Brown University in Rhode Island, earning a bachelor’s degree in human biology. In 2010, he received his first NHL call-up, signing a multi-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks at the age of 24.
During his career, Volpatti played 114 games with the Canucks and Washington Capitals before a career-ending neck injury in 2015.
The abrupt end of his career caused Volpatti to experience a loss of identity and he went through some spiritual adversity. But the same courage that helped him realize his dream of playing in the NHL has helped him again.
“While writing my book, I began working as a cognitive performance coach for athletes, teaching my unique visualization techniques to help others deal with performance anxiety, lack of confidence and self-doubt,” he said. “It has been very rewarding, and this book has been a catalyst for that. I am very happy to share my story in the hope that it will inspire others.
Forty percent of proceeds from book sales for the first 54 days will go to support the BC Professional Fighters Burn Fund. At the book launch party, The Roster will be offering a burger and drink option where $5 will go to the burn fund. The Roster is also hosting a squash tournament this weekend with 50% of entry fees going to the burn fund.
Fighter: defying the odds of the NHL will also be available on Amazon.ca.