By: Cassie Dresch
Resilience. Perseverance. Attitude.
For ex-NHL defenceman Jim Kyte, they’re qualities that made him a good team player on the ice. But now, the chair of marketing and management studies at Algonquin College has used these skills to advance a medal-winning way of doing business.
Kyte received the prestigious Governor General’s Gold Medal for best thesis or masters project at Royal Roads University’s fall convocation on Oct. 23.
His organizational management project studied the ideal span of control for an academic chair in Ontario post-secondary schools.
Kyte was looking to balance efficiency, effectiveness and quality in the learning environment for the students and faculty in order to offer recommendations on long-term stability here at Algonquin.
“At first I thought it could have been a prank when I was informed of the award over the phone,” said Kyte. “I was in disbelief.”
In 1982, Kyte was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. He became the first legally deaf player to suit up for an NHL team.
He carved himself a niche as a solid, reliable and tough defenceman, playing 598 games over 13 years. He saw time on the blue line in Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Ottawa and San Jose.
It was in 1997 that Kyte’s hockey career came to an abrupt end after he was involved in a car crash that left him with severe post-concussion symptoms.
Soon after recovering, Kyte took up writing a weekly column in the Ottawa Citizen and began teaching at Algonquin.
It was then that he helped found the hugely successful sport business management program, teaching it as well as developing it.
He flourished in his role at Algonquin and soon found himself looking for more.
It wasn’t until December 2010 that he started his MBA with a specialization in executive management at Royal Roads in Victoria, B.C.
Through a blended learning environment involving both online and in-person studies, Kyte vaulted himself above the rest of his classmates with his final project earning him one of the most prestigious academic achievements in the country.
“It’s a big honour,” Kyte said. “Just in my classmates in the MBA I know there’s some very bright people. I’m very honoured.”
With over 25 different masters programs at Royal Roads University, Kyte was going up against not only his classmates for the gold medal but also the countless other graduate students in different areas of study. It was a difficult task but one he accomplished nonetheless.
“All of us who work with Jim were impressed with the effort and time he put into his studies,” said Dave Donaldson, dean of the School of Business. “This award is certainly a reflection of that hard effort and Jim’s focus. All of us in the school of business couldn’t be prouder of our friend and colleague.”
Kyte, for his part, is modest but still demands a high level of achievement from himself and his children.
“I’ve always told my kids, ‘If you’re going to do something, do it right,’” said Kyte. “I did it right because I knew that my peers were going to be reading it here at the college and I knew Kent MacDonald (vice president, academics at the time) was going to read it too. I wanted to make sure that I did a good job.”
The Governor General’s Gold Medal is certainly a respectable indication that Kyte has done a good job.
Three hard copies of his organizational management project sit in the offices of prominent figures in the college. His gold medal sits proudly in his office.