Following an exciting junior hockey career, Mitch Topping found his next true calling.
Obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce in Business Economics and Law from the University of Alberta, Topping uses his educational background and previous work experience in his current position as a Medical Sales Representative with Stryker, a Calgary-based medical technologies firm.
“I always knew I wanted to get into sales,” Topping told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “About a month ago, I accepted a position with Stryker. I was able to get my foot in the medical sales industry. Day to day, I’m in hospitals and operating rooms, working with doctors, clinicians, and nurses to improve their best practices and ultimately make healthcare better. It’s definitely a different world but it combines the healthcare world with business.”
Not only is it a position that meshes well with Topping’s business background, it is also an opportunity to use the many life skills he learned over five full seasons with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins and Tri-City Americans from 2008-14 in a junior career that totaled 317 career games.
“There are a lot of similarities, especially back in the high school days. Your school requirements were always a high priority,” Topping recalled. “You’re trying to memorize some of your schooling and then all of a sudden you have to shift your focus from education to the rink. It’s fast-paced, and in university it’s the same thing. Definitely with how busy you are and paying close attention to detail, managing your day is the biggest thing.”
Those life lessons also proved invaluable in the classroom as Topping excelled academically while also splitting his time to compete with the varsity Golden Bears for three seasons.
“Heading into the University of Alberta, I definitely had aspirations to play professionally after my degree was over, whether that was overseas, like you see a lot of U SPORTS guys doing currently,” Topping detailed. “Probably my third year into university, I fell in love with business school and felt that I could take what I learned from hockey from a personal standpoint like communications skills and relationship management skills and apply that to business. My focus shifted around that time.”
Topping credits his beginnings to his time in the CHL and the scholarship program and how it helped paved the way for his success today.
“It definitely gives you a big jump start when you’re going through post-secondary because it takes away a lot of that financial burden,” Topping concluded. “Especially now being 26 years old, (the scholarship program) is something that I value and am very humbled and honoured to have received.”