Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes is a believer. A man of faith. Yes, a Christian. Gaining attention rapidly as one of the best defensemen in the NHL today, Slavin and his usual mate on the blue line, Brett Pesce are a defensive pairing to be respected. The two of them are young, but full of talent and potential. Slavin is also full of faith.
Slavin Standing, Not Preaching
During the Hurricanes’ exit interviews on Monday, April 10, I talked with Slavin briefly about his faith. I said, “You’re a pretty vocal person of faith aren’t you?” Slavin replied, “Yes.” I asked him, “How does that fit in the NHL, do people repeat that?” Slavin said, “Oh yeah, guys in the locker room don’t give me too hard of a time about it. They obviously know what I stand for. I mean I don’t stand in the locker room preaching the Bible, but, I’m definitely going to stand for what I believe in and live it out the best I can on and off the ice.”
Related – Religion in Hockey
When teammate goalie Eddie Lack was in the hospital in Raleigh, NC a few weeks ago after a collision in front of the goal that left him laid out on the ice motionless for several minutes, Slavin and his wife were right there for Lack. They brought him food in the middle of the night, which came as no surprise to former Hurricanes television personality Michelle McMahon. She noted on Twitter:
This does not surprise me in the slightest. Such good people! https://t.co/0t8Y35pmVQ
— Michelle McMahon (@Meesh_McMahon) March 29, 2017
Slavin is not, as he said, a Bible-thumping zealot who makes his teammates or others uncomfortable with his faith. While he is certainly not ashamed to be known as a Christian, he tries to live and play the way he believes, solidly and without a lot of fanfare. Chip Alexander of Raleigh’s News & Observer wrote on December 9, 2016 that Slavin seems to have a calm about him when he plays. Slavin explained that there is more to his life than hockey:“I’m not rooted in the game of hockey,” he said. “I know hockey will end one day, but God is forever. It puts me at peace knowing God’s in control of every aspect of my life.”
The Real Deal
As Todd Cordell of MyNHLTradeRumors.com wrote on March 14, “The 22-year-old blueliner is quietly putting together a strong season for the Hurricanes.” Cordell also wrote some amazing comparisons about the ‘Canes statistics with and without Slavin on the ice. Cordell wrote:
“The Hurricanes control a larger percentage of the shot attempts with Slavin, a larger percentage of the chances with Slavin, and the goal numbers aren’t even in the same stratosphere. With Slavin, the Hurricanes score 57% of the goals at 5v5. To put that into perspective, Washington and Columbus are the only teams to score 57% or more of the goals at 5v5. The Hurricanes have been a disaster without Slavin scoring ~37% of the goals, which is almost identical to the numbers the historically bad Avalanche have posted. Essentially, the Hurricanes are Columbus caliber with Slavin on the ice, and Colorado caliber without him.”
Slavin is the real deal on defense for the Hurricanes, and his play and his faith speak for themselves.
I asked him if he gets any grief or smack talk from other players around the NHL about his being a Christian, Slavin said, “No, no. Not too much. Not that I’ve heard of at least. So no, I guess everything’s been kind of easy-going in that sense.” He went to on say, “There’s definitely a lot of temptations and everything around the league, just falling into materialism stuff. But, no, it’s definitely been a blessing. It’s been a very, very humbling experience this year as well.”
The future is bright for Jaccob Slavin as the NHL spotlight continues to shine brighter on him. But, he is firmly grounded in his faith and is not unaware of what that means to him personally. Slavin finished our conversation saying, “Just being able to give all the glory to God is the biggest part of my life.”
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.