It’s the unmatched motivation to do things the right way that often sets Cam Hillis apart from the rest. This stands true just as much off the ice, as it does on, for the MM27 Ambassador.
“Mental health is important because hockey and sport is more than just a game,” Hillis offered. “So much of the preparation and time goes in to mental work, and you can’t be the complete player you are without the mental side of the game.”
The five-foot-11, 174-pound forward has always believed in the mental side of being an athlete, just the same as he has supported Garrett McFadden and McFadden’s Movement right from the start of his Ontario Hockey League career beginning in 2017 with the Guelph Storm.
“When Garrett was my captain my first year [in 2017-18], I really got to see how much he was doing in the community,” Hillis explained. “He really opened my eyes and made me realize it’s okay to reach out and talk to people.”
Following a rookie campaign that saw the Enniskillen, Ontario native post 59 points in 60 games played, came a sophomore season filled with adversity in the shape of three major injuries.
Starting with missing seven weeks due to a torn MCL suffered on December 15th, Hillis jumped back in to the line-up on February 1st only to break his collarbone one week later. The third blow came in the playoffs two months later, with Hillis returning for Game One of the Western Conference Semi-Finals versus the London Knights. In Game Two in London, Hillis’ collarbone put him out once again – this time, sidelining him for the rest of the year, and through his team’s run to an OHL Championship.
“I went through some adversity last year with a few injuries,” Hillis said of the 2018-19 season, opting to focus on the lessons learned rather than the obstacles faced. “It taught me that I can be more than just a hockey player… I can be a better person off the ice, a better teammate, a better leader — more leadership skills where I can understand what other players are going through and help them out more.”
Those lessons are one of the many things that have led the Montreal Canadiens prospect to being named the 29th Guelph Storm captain in franchise history.
What I learned this year is that it’s okay to let yourself off the hook, to not put so much pressure on yourself, things will always work out the way they’re supposed to and just trust yourself.
From one captain to another, McFadden is proud to have all that Hillis brings to the Movement.
“Cam epitomized leadership from the moment he started in Guelph… he’s someone who you can count on no matter what the situation and can always be counted on as a teammate,” McFadden said. “Cam has always been enthusiastic about making sure his teammates are feeling their best and has a special way of bringing a positive energy to the rink everyday. We’re really proud to add Cam to the Movement’s Ambassadors program.”
Fellow MM27 Ambassador and Storm captain, Isaac Ratcliffe, echoed those same sentiments:
While for Hillis, it’s always been about being a leader for the right way – whether that’s on the ice, or off.
“The Movement is important to me because mental health should be important to all athletes,” he said. “And Garrett has shown me what it takes to be a true leader.”