By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Mark Metzger saw himself as a winning hockey player in the NHL. But then the young Junior A center injured himself in while playing a few years ago, and his outlook changed.
In the years since his injury, Metzger made a consequential career move, writing his first book and printing it through CIS Publishing. It was a move that even surprised himself.
“If you told me back in school I would write a book, I would have laughed,” Metzger said. “I never thought I would write a book. It just shows you never know what you can do if you put your mind to it.”
Metzger started “Winner or Loser, Winning Over Basic Youth Conflicts” in September. It was complete about five months later.
The book is aimed at the youth audience and offers guidelines for developing quality character, real values and a relationship with others, focusing on anti-bullying efforts.
“I have been seeing how people are bullied in school, I saw it first hand,” Metzger said. “I still see it now being 19.”
One chapter in his book describes an encounter with a bullying victim while he was in school.
“One kid, everyone was always putting him down,” Metzger said. “I went up to him and heard some stories he was telling me. It was really sad, his life at home and everything, and a lot of people were just making it worse.”
To combat those issues, Metzger’s book focuses on enjoying life, committing acts of kindness, and treating everyone with respect, all with a base of Christian principles and beliefs.
“That’s the way I was brought up,” he said. “They provide guidelines, principles. It’s how I see things.”
Metzger’s book plans got off to a running start when he ran into his role model, Craig Keeland, at Joel Osteen’s Night of Hope Event last December. Metzger asked Keeland for advice on getting his own book published.
“I gave him my card and told him to contact me,” Keeland said. “And that I would be happy to connect him with my publisher Terry Minke at CIS Publishing.”
Minke worked with Metzger and the book is now available on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, www.cispublishing.com, and at Life Resources Book Store and Bender’s Parable Christian Bookstore.
Metzger’s book is set to be featured at a book signing event Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m at Life Resources Christian Bookstore on Maple Road in Amherst.
Metzger is planning a second book, but in the meantime is keeping quite busy. He’s spoken to an assembly of 300 Tonawanda School District staff and administrators about bullying and has also spoken to students at elementary and middle schools.
He also has his own hockey school, where he works as a trainer and coach, and he’s in the process of developing a nutritional sports drink he hopes to market to NHL players. He hopes to introduce it to the league in early 2013.
And the book itself is quite a success so far and Metzger’s quite pleased with the feedback he has gotten in the form of many emails and letters from readers who say the stories helped them turn their lives around.
“There was a class for inmates, and they read my book and the man who was teaching it reached out to me about how it helped him,” Metzger said. “And a 14-year-old said she was going through bullying and self-esteem issues, and it helped her a lot. It’s rewarding. If I can help one person, it’s a success.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.