The Rocky Mountaineer president on how playing hockey applies to life and work

My parents were immigrants from Malta. There’s no ice in Malta—it’s very hot and warm. My father played soccer and some other sports growing up but not hockey. He used to watch it on television, so I remember watching on his lap. I grew up in Toronto—unfortunately the Leafs, tough team to watch, but I always wanted to play so I begged when I was four. My parents really wanted us to be Canadian kids so they were right behind that in terms of signing us up.

I played defence until I was 10. Then one of my coaches moved me up to centre and I’ve been there ever since. What do I like about playing hockey? It’s a fast game. It takes a lot of work. You’re not going to have success in hockey if you don’t go out and work, so I think there’s just so many things that are applicable to life: a good work ethic; if you don’t work as a team, you don’t have a chance at winning; the harder you work and the more you practise, the better the results.

Now I play with a team called the Vipers in Burnaby. I’m playing with the same group of guys probably since I moved out to British Columbia, about 16 years. It’s a good group—bankers, different business people—and it’s a lot of fun. At this point the level of skill drops every year, the level of competition drops every year, but we have a good time. It’s as much about just getting out and having a few laughs and a little bit of social interaction, some competition, a little bit of exercise.

It starts in September; usually the playoffs end up in April. A couple of times in the last five years we’ve gone to the regional finals, which has been kind of fun. These days, to be honest with you, with work and other obligations in my life I probably end up missing a quarter of the games. I coach my two sons’ hockey teams, and I think that’s a bigger priority, so when there’s a conflict, that’s where I’ll be, coaching.

Warrior Spotlight

Steve Sammut joined Rocky Mountaineer in 2012 as EVP and CFO, becoming president in December 2015. The company is expanding and has ordered 10 more glass-domed GoldLeaf cars from Stadler Rail in Switzerland.