By: Tyler Follett
Growing up in a family of five boys and one girl taught Jim Kyte the importance of teamwork at an early age.
Since then, Kyte has been a part of numerous different teams, excelling thanks to his teamwork and ability to get a group focused in order to complete tasks, regardless of how much work needs to be done and any of the challenges that stood in his way.
“My dad always said ‘if you’re going to do something, do it right,’ so I’m going to spend 10 hours on a 10-hour job,” explained Kyte, who is the college’s chair of marketing and management studies in the Algonquin College school of business.
With the amount of work he has done for the college and as a former columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, it’s almost hard to believe that it came after a 17-year career as a professional hockey player.
A tough and reliable blueliner, Kyte was the first legally deaf man to play in the NHL, suiting up for Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Ottawa and San Jose.
“My dad always taught us, it may be a challenge to overcome, but it’s not a disability,” Kyte said proudly.
His reliability on the ice was matched by his reliability as a public speaker, as well as his popular hockey camp for hearing-impaired children.
“I talk about overcoming obstacles, high-performing teams and finding personal success,” Kyte said regarding public speaking.
With the completion of his Masters in business administration specializing in executive management, Kyte achieved one of his big goals in life. He also won an award for achieving the highest academic performance in his program and the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for the best final project at the school.
Kyte’s hockey career ended abruptly, as he was the victim of a very serious car accident, when he was struck by another vehicle.
“I was hit by somebody and my car rolled three times. I’m just glad to be here,” he said.
It was in his recovery that Kyte began writing about sports. Before long, the Citizen took notice and came calling, leading to his column The Pointman.
In an era where so many former athletes struggle so much coming to terms with life after the sport, Kyte is a rarity because he embraced it.
“I always thought, after my hockey career, it was important to me to close the door on that part of my life because I had to move forward,” he said.
Forming the sport business management program at Algonquin, which started in 2002, only reinforced this.
After originally planning on having a sideline role, Kyte was thrust into the spotlight, tasked with creating a graduate certificate program and all the jobs that come with it. It was uncharted territory for him at the time, but he did his research and assembled an impressive team of faculty.
“It was an intense process, but it was fun,” said Kyte, referring to the 60-80 hour work weeks that starting a new program required. “I worked hard and I learned a lot.”
“I put together a who’s-who of sports on both a local and national level, since being in Ottawa gives us the advantage of having national organizations here,” he explained.
The first year of the program was a resounding success and it has continued to grow in size to this day, with grads employed by professional and high performance sport organizations all over.
Getting graduates into their desired fields is one of the more important efforts in the program.
Kyte was a professor and coordinator of the program until 2007, when he became a chair of the Algonquin College school of business, a role he’s filled ever since. He now manages a different type of team, overseeing upwards of 100 full and part-time faculty, teaching in 15 different programs.
“I inherited a great team of faculty,” explained Kyte. “You get a lot of satisfaction out of doing your job and working with great people.”
That wasn’t the only unfamiliar situation Kyte excelled in. He had a popular weekly column. The column was titled The Pointman, a reference to his many years manning the point on the NHL’s blueline.
“I wrote about hockey from the NHL to shinny, which I enjoyed,” he said.
The late nights paid off, as Kyte wrote his column for four years, or until the NHL lockout, on top of his jobs with the sport business management program. The 2004-05 lockout cancelled the entire NHL season, the first time ever for a professional league.
“It was hard work, but I don’t have a problem with hard work. It was a lot of fun and it was a good learning experience,” says Kyte of his Citizen days.
Throughout his life, Kyte has shown that with a positive attitude and hard work, nothing is out of the question.