As an NHL player, 55-year-old Jim Kyte developed a strong work ethic and passion. He has now taken those characteristics into his role as dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Algonquin College.
As Kyte celebrates his fifth anniversary as dean, he reflected on his past and what he has learned.
Throughout his 13-year NHL career, Kyte played for the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators and the San Jose Sharks, while also being the first and only legally deaf NHL player.
After suffering a severe brain injury in a car accident, Kyte’s NHL career was cut short and he searched for his next passion.
While speaking at an event, former Algonquin College president, Kent McDonald, then the Dean of the School of Business, offered Kyte the position on the advisory committee for a new program related to the business of sport.
“Kent McDonald asked me if I’d be interested in developing the program so I dove straight in and developed the program,” Kyte said. “The sport business management post-grad program had its first intake in the fall of 2002.”
In 2003, Kyte became a full-time faculty member, and then, four years later became the acting chair of the marketing and management studies department in the School of Business.
Two years later, he applied for the dean position in the school of Hospitality and Tourism, and since then, hasn’t looked back.
“I was very proud to be selected as the dean of this school and have enjoyed being in this position for just over five years now,” Kyte said.
Kyte has taken the lessons he’s learned in hockey to being dean. For example, the value of perseverance, hard work and attitude.
“It’s all the work that happens beforehand that indicates the success later,” he said. “As Sun Tzu writes in the Art of War, every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.”
For Kyte, it was also about finding a new passion.
“Hockey is something that I did for a living but it’s not who I am…find something else that you’re passionate about and those characteristics that made you successful in being a high performance athlete will make you successful in this other field,” he said.
Kyte said he enjoys the relationships he has with colleagues but misses connecting on a daily basis with students when he was a faculty member.
Kyte mentioned that his favourite days in his new schedule as a dean are the spring and fall convocations as well as the School of Hospitality and Tourism awards.
“When you see the students walk across the stage and they get their diplomas or their certificate when they graduate, that’s very satisfying,” he said. “The students are very proud and I’m very proud to have played a small part.”