Adam Fox is preparing for the fourth season with the New York Rangers

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While every professional hockey player dreams of having the career longevity of Jaromir Jagr, who at 50 is finally considering retirement after three decades of professional play in the NHL, Russia and his native Czech Republic, the majority of players are not able or lucky enough to make it their reality.

The average length of an NHL career is only five years, and many of them have unfortunately gone off the rails before they even reached the median.

As New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox enters his fourth NHL season, the New York native wanted to make sure he had a backup plan. That’s why after the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, Fox went back to school to get his psychology degree from Harvard University.

Much like the solace he has with Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin behind him in net, Fox is now focused entirely on hockey, knowing he has a degree to help him in his next career, but he t is hopefully after a long and successful tenure in the NHL.

“I’ve been very lucky in my hockey career,” Fox said. “Just as easily, I could have been unlucky. There are many people who do not have the longest career and having this degree is so valuable in the future to find a job. It is enormous.

“I know hockey is not forever and you have so little time to do it. Being able to have this degree is super valuable.

Fox, who signed a seven-year, $66.5 million contract extension with the Rangers in November 2021, spent the previous two offseasons growing up balancing hockey and school.

After winning the Norris Trophy that season as the NHL’s top defenseman, Fox didn’t rest on his laurels on or off the ice. He took three online courses in the summer of 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and his last two in the summer of 2021 to graduate; Fox had left school after his first year when he was drafted.

Fox is not the first or only Ranger, NHL player or professional athlete to graduate during or after his playing career, though the significance of doing so, even symbolically, is invaluable.

According to the NFL Players Association, the average NFL career is 3.3 years, while the average NBA career length is 4.5 years, which leaves many players wondering, “What next?” before celebrating their 30th birthday. It’s also no coincidence that 94% of women in leadership positions are former athletes, according to a 2018 study by Ernst & Young.

“It was something I had planned to do from the start,” Fox says. “When I signed up and finally got into school, my goal was to graduate. You go there for that purpose. Being so close (to graduating) and able to do it, I thought it was something I had to do and something I’m glad I was able to do.

This offseason after the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Fox has been able to focus solely on hockey as New York hopes to build on their success. as the 2022-23 campaign begins Oct. 11 against the same Lightning, who were beaten by the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals last year.

“It was a little weird,” he says. “But, all my other summers I spent at school, so it was more of an adjustment to do it the other way around. It was nice to not have to be in class for three hours a day in the summer and to relax a bit more, especially after that playoff series.

The Rangers, who occupy the first place in the Forbes’ annual ranking of the best teams in the NHL, signed centers Vincent Trocheck (seven years, $39.38 million) and Ryan Carpenter (one year, $750,000) and goaltender Jaroslav Halak (one year, $1.5 million ) in July. New York also re-signed right-winger Kaapo Kakko to a two-year, $4.2 million extension later that month.

The collective youth of New York comprising Fox, 24, with Alexis Lafrenière (21), Kakko (21), Braden Schneider (21), K’Andre Miller (22), Vitali Kravtsov (22) and Filip Chytil (23) are set to help Rangers further in their quest for the Cup alongside a strong core including Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Truba and Shesterkin.

“We’re going into the regular season with the same intensity we had in the playoffs,” Fox said. “Everyone is ready to go and ready to play, and I think we’re a hungry team, and we don’t want to rest on last year. It’s a fresh start for us as a group, but we want to do a lot of the same things we did in the regular season last year.

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