Career Change: How Jeff Ulmer is Planning for Life After Hockey

An athlete is never truly ready to leave the sport they love behind, no matter what you read or hear in their interview when they walk away. Sure, they may have come to a realization that their body cannot take it anymore or they cannot compete at the same level, but deep down there is still a competitive fire that just cannot be extinguished.

This is why many athletes, like professional hockey player Jeff Ulmer, prepare for a career after their playing days are over. Currently playing over in Denmark, the 39-year old from Canada is nearing the end of his “well-traveled” career, but preparing for what comes next at the same time.

According to, Ulmer started his path toward collegiate and professional hockey back in 1994 with the Notre Dame Hounds of the SJHL prior to heading to college to play for the University of North Dakota from 1995 to 1999. He would go undrafted coming out of college, landing with the Houston Aeros of the IHL to begin his career from 1999 to 2000. He also played for Team Canada during this time as well.

Ulmer would make it to the NHL just one year later, playing in 21 games for the New York Rangers during the 2000-2001 season. For Ulmer, that would be his lone trip to the NHL as he would play a few more years in the AHL before taking his talents to Europe in 2003.

Ulmer Career
Ulmer’s lone trip to the NHL came with the New York Rangers.

From there, the list of teams played for is a long one—leading all the way up to the finish line he currently finds himself at with the Frederikshavn White Hawks in Denmark. If you want to take a trip down memory lane with Ulmer, you can view the entire list of teams here on HockeyDB.

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk career transition with Ulmer as he plans for what comes next once he hangs up the skates. Though he has not fully decided where life is going once he walks away completely, Ulmer does have an eye on the future and some good advice for others looking to plan ahead for life after sports.

What are you doing now to prepare for life after sports?

Currently playing hockey while also taking coaching, negotiation and management clinics through Hockey Canada, the NHL Alumni and the Canadian Institute of Management. Also created a hockey blog featuring tips for players and past experiences in hockey. You can find it here:

What fields are you looking into for your new career?

I have thought about something outside of hockey, however I think that with the knowledge and experience I have gained, along with the passion I have for hockey, I will stay in the game. Whether it is as a coach, manager or scout, I am not sure as of yet. I will continue adding knowledge through courses and certificates to combine my experience on the ice with the relative parts off of the ice. I am open to nearly anything that may come my way in the future once my playing career concludes.

What advice do you have for athletes making the transition?

Gain as much knowledge as possible while still playing your sport. Meet people, ask questions and listen to advice.

How can other athletes follow your path to career change?

You can read more over at, where Jeff is sharing tips and hockey stories. In particular, he recently wrote a post called “For the Rookies” which was a great read for anyone, whether you are a hockey player, fan or just want to get a behind the scenes look at the game. You can also stay tuned to the VIKTRE Career Network, as we hope to share Jeff’s story as he continues toward his next career.

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