Halfway through some entry-level positions at any corporation, there’s sometimes a period where the employee is given an opportunity to work somewhere else and learn from a different perspective.
It could be taken as a break from your normal work schedule, or it could be an eye-opening experience that will grant the employee new understanding and get to know their position inside and out. Really get to the root of their career and envelop themselves inside the occupation.
They can then return and come into their role with newfound appreciation for their daily grind and have new enthusiasm for the role.
What I’m saying is, Mitch Marner should go to Switzerland for a sabbatical.
There’s a possibility that what he gains in experience over in Europe is priceless — going through the Alps every single day to work with a lower-grade of teammates, trying to win some games with a little more load on his own shoulders.
Whether or not one believes that it was John Tavares or him doing the heavy lifting on that line last season — there’s one right answer — his centre won’t be there for him. Instead Marcus Kruger will welcome him with open arms and won’t stop telling him about how he won two Stanley Cups and the Leafs haven’t won any since hockey became what it is today.
Regardless of his experience on the actual team itself, Marner could have a great experience playing in Switzerland. Wrapping himself up in the entire culture of the neutral country.
In the summer, as he’s heading up to Muskoka, he could be seen enjoying some delicious cheese and chocolate. Yelling at bystanders that only the best cheese have holes in them and the most pure chocolate comes in the shape of a triangle and all other desserts are complete garbage.
With his Tissot watch in hand, and Swiss Army knife attached to his belt loop like a boy scout, he would come back to Canada and tell various stories about how former Edmonton Oiler Robert Nilsson was so obsessed with Swiss composer Arthur Honegger that he paid thousands of dollars for a collection of his recordings.
Other than have Morgan Rielly talking about how wonderful Vancouver is, or Zach Hyman talking about North York, Marner could get a worldwide experience while also playing the sport he loves.
On the ice, he would be dominant, obviously, but it’s what he gains in perspective that would be so valuable. Growing into a leader on a team at such a young age, becoming the captain just a month into the entire season — he would develop that character that every fan wants in their superstar.
Regardless of his offensive production, Marner could grow as a person and a player overseas. Something that might not be achievable if he stayed in Toronto and played another year on the same forward line that couldn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs yet again.
Shaking it up, learning something new, understanding more about the entire culture in European hockey — these are valuable things that Marner would be able to achieve if he played in Zurich next season.
There’s no doubt that Auston Matthews speaks fondly about his time in that city as a 17-year-old budding hockey star, imagine what a full-fledged NHL player could get involved in.
Most normal people would never get the opportunity to pack up and move to an entire different continent to do the same work they were previously doing, now Marner has an opportunity in front of him to take advantage of this privilege for being very good at a sport.
Seize it with both hands and take initiative to become a well-rounded athlete that is depended on more than ever. He will be looked towards for guidance on the ice, and should be open-minded off of it.
There are just some things that Marner could never get to do playing in the NHL. Now that he has this small window, it just makes sense to take that sabbatical and enjoy a period of your life before he makes the biggest decision in his young life.