Venla Hovi, Finnish Ice Hockey Player

Interview conducted by Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood

What are a few accomplishments that you are most proud of and why? 
Besides my accomplishments as an athlete; Including 2 Olympic bronze medals and making it to the finals in the 2019 World Championship tournament for the first time in Finnish women’s hockey history, I’m the most proud of the person I have become through the challenges I’ve had as a person and as an athlete.

What is the book or books that you have read the most and why? 
I enjoy reading books that involve different cultures and circumstances than what I’m used to myself. I find wisdom and beauty in reading about different perspectives on life, something that is unknown for myself. I’ve read all of Khaled Hossein’s books and also one of the most inspiring ones I read was ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.

How has a failure or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a favourite failure of yours? 
There’s failure in every game, almost every shift. Bigger and smaller. It’s hard to think about one example from my career, but I learned not to take it too seriously. As soon as you occupy your mind too much with failure, you’re stuck. Failure is always something to learn from for growing, but in game situations it’s crucial to know how to laugh at it sometimes. I think that was something that I was able to do pretty well especially at the end of my career where I just enjoyed playing so much and didn’t worry about the flaws of my game. I was just myself.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?
“Road to excellence knows no finish line”, because I believe in constant learning. And something about encouraging people to create their own path to really do what they enjoy doing and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I would want the billboard to break some type of stereotypical existence.

In the last five years, what new belief or behaviour or habit has most improved your life?
Yoga.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 
Encouraging kids to only do hockey instead of being multi-sport athletes. Same thing applies to learning languages. A young child is able to speak 6 different languages which allows them to look at things from multiple perspectives. I don’t like limitations.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
That happens to me all the time. I mean it’s bad sometimes. If I feel anxious, I tell myself that it’s okay to feel that way and it will pass. If I can’t concentrate it usually means I should do some sort of physical activity to be able to do less thinking and just concentrate on my body instead of my messy mind. It usually helps.

COVID-19 has changed us and our world. What have you learned about yourself during this “Great Pause”? 
That I’m extremely adaptable. I’m okay in almost any type of situation. These types of times leave room for creativity and I tend to focus on things I’d usually not even notice due to being so “busy”.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
“It’s okay to talk about how you’re feeling and to have a day off”.

Venla’s chat with the Terrific Tuesdays community – May 12, 2020

*please excuse some of our guest appearances in the video – we are still learning how to record on Zoom!