Jerry Rollins’ hockey card from his mid-1970s days with the Phoenix Roadrunners.

Jerry Rollins’ hockey card from his mid-1970s days with the Phoenix Roadrunners.

BOOKS

The goon old days: Surrey roots for hockey player who wrote ‘Enforcer to Entrepreneur’

Jerry Rollins grew up in Whalley before making it in the business world of San Diego

Even though he was the son of a Stanley Cup winner, Jerry Rollins never really wanted to play pro hockey.

“I played just because all my friends played,” admitted the Surrey-raised businessman, who spent his teen years on the streets, rinks and baseball diamonds of Whalley.

Nope, as a young man Rollins wanted to get a “real job” and make money.

“Unlike most of the people who play professional hockey, it was not what I looked forward to as a career. So it was more that I backed into a hockey career.”

Rollins’ tale is told in a new book that details his path from “Enforcer to Entrepreneur,” in a career that led him from hockey pro to CEO in San Diego, where he has lived since 1979.

In 1951, his dad Al Rollins was a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win the NHL championship four years before Jerry was born.

“Our family home in the summer during my dad’s time in the NHL was in White Rock,” Rollins noted. “And we still have a lot of family there – probably 100 relatives in that area, because my mom comes from a family of nine or 10, and ours was the smallest family, at three.”

The New Westminster-born Rollins “lived all over the place,” but names Whalley as the place where he came to prominence as a hockey player.

“I was on the North Surrey rep teams, and also baseball with the original gang there,” Rollins recalled. “That was the early ’70s, right, in Bantam and Midget, and then I moved up to junior hockey. New Westminster drafted me at age 16 but I didn’t want to play.

“That whole crew hung out together,” he continued. “Mr. (Orest) Springenatic had an eye out for me and was protective, put me on every team under him, because I was probably a bit wilder than most of the kids. I was just a tough, hyperactive kid, a bit wilder, that’s all. I was the kid you didn’t want your daughter to date at that age, we’ll leave it at that.”

On the ice, the right-shot defenseman was a fight-loving goon who racked up hundreds of penalty minutes in junior and minor-pro leagues. He was good enough to be drafted 23rd overall by Detroit Red Wings in 1975, but Rollins spent the back half of the decade skating for non-NHL teams in Toledo, Kalamazoo and, yes, San Diego. His final hockey stop, with Indianapolis Racers, included a short, seven-game stint as a protector of rookie phenom Wayne Gretzky, who reportedly wanted Rollins to later play with him on the Edmonton Oilers.

Instead, Rollins started working in the business world of San Diego, and began writing the first drafts of what would become the just-published “Enforcer to Entrepreneur: Achieving Hockey Stick Growth in Life, Business and Sports.”

Today, the high school dropout is co-founder and chair of the Sage Executive Group, a peer advisory group that helps coach CEOs and other business leaders. The book offers insight about his work as VP of sales, president and CEO of various companies and the challenges he faced.

“I just started documenting everything,” Rollins said of his writing adventures. “I started writing things down and putting them into very specific chapters. Two years I ago I made the decision to do it, write a book, and quit just talking about it. People were bugging me to do it, and I hired a writing coach to help me, because I love learning new things. Part of it was, it was just a fun experience.”

From Merack Publishing, the book is listed on amazon.com.

“The paper version came out today,” Rollins said in an early-October phone interview, “and apparently it went pretty well, quite good. I must have a lot of cousins who bought it,” he added with a laugh.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

BookshockeyPro sports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jerry Rollins, a former Surrey resident, wrote the book, “Enforcer to Entrepreneur: Achieving Hockey Stick Growth in Life, Business and Sports.”

Jerry Rollins, a former Surrey resident, wrote the book, “Enforcer to Entrepreneur: Achieving Hockey Stick Growth in Life, Business and Sports.”

Just Posted

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police investigating after another teen girl followed in Tsawwassen

Police say a man in a burgundy car approached teen girls on at least two, possibly three occasions

White Rock RCMP are searching for Richard John Lewis, who is wanted on warrants for assault and uttering threats. (RCMP handout)
White Rock RCMP searching for wanted man

Richard John Lewis is wanted on warrants for assault, uttering threats

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Seven more Surrey schools reporting COVID-19

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read