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Surviving and Thriving in Professional Hockey

Authored by Mike Jaczko and Rob Martini, SkateGuard provides a comprehensive game plan for success in the world of pro hockey. Mike Jaczko, alongside Rob Martini, a former elite player and international-level hockey coach, provide insights aimed at players and their parents and coaches. The book highlights the importance of being business-savvy in all aspects of a professional hockey career, from preparing for life events to selecting the right advisors, developing a strong personal brand, and a solid strategic wealth plan. As passionate about helping players find their way as they are about the game itself, Jaczko and Martini share actionable insights and clear direction for future and current pros and their families. SkateGuard is a crucial resource for current and aspiring professional hockey players seeking financial security and life success beyond the game.

SkateGuard book mockup for hardcover and digital versions - SkateGuard

The SkateGuard Story

SkateGuard was not inspired by tragedy. It was inspired by a shared commitment to prevent tragedy.

In 2015, NHL veteran Steve Montador passed away at the age of 35, just a few years after retiring from the game he played professionally for a decade. After his passing, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is caused by repeated blows to the head and can lead to depression, memory loss and even dementia. A few months later, the Calgary Flames Alumni launched a courageous and much-needed initiative that sought to help other players avoid the tragedy that befell their former teammate.

The Flames alumni designed the TFM Program to provide comprehensive transitional assistance to retiring hockey players, helping them plan and prepare for life after the game. In 2016, they called in KJ Harrison wealth advisor Mike Jaczko – a lifelong hockey fanatic who worked with several NHL players – to deliver a comprehensive presentation about the money and life decisions that pros need to make to set themselves up for a financially secure future. Mike’s talk struck a chord, and afterwards the alumni urged him to put his words into book form and help spread the word about how NHLers could survive and thrive before, during and after a life in pro hockey.

Over the next few years, Mike’s pro-player wealth management practice grew, eventually enlisting Robert Martini, a wealth advisor at KJ Harrison and former NCAA Tier 1 defenceman who shared Mike’s interest in and commitment to helping athletes.

Together, they further developed the idea of a book that encapsulated their wisdom, getting plenty of sage advice and support along the way from the likes of Rhett Warrener, Robyn Regehr, Nick Kypreos and Mike Krushelnyski. In 2023, they released SkateGuard – a title they chose to put an exclamation point on the need for players to protect themselves and their families financially for the long term.

For Mike and Rob, SkateGuard is more than a book – it’s a movement and a conversation. Their goal is not only to shine a light on the challenges professional athletes face when they leave the game, but also to inspire people in the hockey world – players, parents, coaches, managers, executives and media – to get engaged in preventing the kinds of financial and personal tragedies that have disrupted the lives of far too many players.

Through the book, a dedicated website (, social media and face-to-face presentations to teams and organizations, Mike and Rob want to get everyone involved in answering a question the Marner Family succinctly posed in their foreword to SkateGuard:


“How can professional hockey players realize not just a successful career, but also a successful life – one that is sustainable long after they hang up the skates?”

The Marner Assist Foundation - Supporting Our Kids

Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Marner Assist Foundation founded by pro hockey player, Mitch Marner, to assist children and youth in the areas of social care, health, education, and the environment to ensure our children have a sustainable future.

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About The Authors

Mike Jaczko landscape image - SkateGuard

Mike Jaczko

With more than 20 years of experience in the Canadian wealth management industry, Mike Jaczko, CIM®, FEA, acts as a trusted advisor on matters associated with succession planning, business transition and wealth management pertaining to estate, corporate structure, tax planning and family business valuation. Mike offers a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to advising wealthy clients, including professional athletes and their families, providing preparatory and transitional life advice. Read more.
Rob Martini landscape image - SkateGuard

Rob Martini

As a member of the KJ Harrison Investors Private Client Team, Rob Martini, CFA®, works closely with young individuals who have experienced financial success, including professional athletes. A former NCAA Division I defenceman, Rob has served as the head coach of the Singapore Men’s National Hockey Team, representing the country at the Asia Winter Games in 2017, the Southeast Asian Games in 2017 and 2019, and at the IIHF Division IV World Hockey Championships in 2022. Read more.


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