Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

In a recent article posted by Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, he wrote about Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll. In the introduction of that article, Fox shared a story of what Woll did during this past summer. What an adventure. What’s even better is that it offers Maple Leafs’ fans new insights about what he is like as a person.

Woll Takes a Solo Hiking Adventure Through the Alps

In Fox’s article, he reports that instead of focusing on hockey during the offseason, Woll embarked on a solo hiking journey in the Alps. The 25-year-old goalie turned off his phone and completely disconnected from hockey to explore the mountain terrain of Italy, France, and Switzerland.

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On his nine-day adventure, Woll hiked about 100 miles, gaining an elevation gain of 30,000 feet. This hiking trip was something he had considered for a while; however, he couldn’t pursue it before because he had a busy summer schedule. As well, the pandemic also created a shutdown of his plans – as they have for most of the rest of us. 

The 100-mile hike allowed him to tick off one of his personal goals, and it fit into his emphasis on taking time off to explore new things. Although the hike was to be a solo adventure, Woll found the trails were less solitary than he expected. But he learned that he enjoyed walking alongside friendly strangers and relishing moments of solitude in nature. 

Related: Joseph Woll: Best Goalie Developed by Maple Leafs in 35 Years

For Woll, that included both listening to music as well as immersing himself in the quiet beauty of the outdoors. A few times, he stayed in a hotel. However, for the most part, he slept in a tent, with one night in a hostel.

Woll’s Adventure Was Different from the Intensity of a Hockey Game

Woll’s Alpine experience was far different from the intensity of being an NHL goalie in an intense hockey market like Toronto. As Fox tells it, Woll loved the fact that his trip through the mountains was free from the presence of predators like mountain lions, bears, wolves, or even (remembering last postseason’s loss to the Florida Panthers) Radko Gudas. Instead, he felt quite safe in the company of some grazing mountain goats. 

Joseph Woll, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Woll’s experience was a refreshing escape from the demands of playing hockey in one of the most difficult positions on one of the most high-profile teams in the world.

What Might Woll’s Summer Adventure Tell Fans About Him?

Insight One: Woll Has an Adventurous Spirit

Woll’s decision to embark on a solo hiking journey in a foreign country reflects his adventurous spirit. This demonstrates a willingness to embrace challenges and explore new experiences outside of his comfort zone.

Related: Top 3 All-Time Maple Leafs Goalies

Insight Two: Woll Has Determination and Independence

His long hike highlights his determination and independence. He was committed to achieving his goal, and his willingness to venture alone showcased self-reliance and a strong sense of purpose.

Insight Three: Woll Is Open to New Experiences

Woll’s willingness to engage with friendly strangers and enjoy both social interactions and solitude during his journey indicates an open and adaptable personality. He was open to meeting people along the way, even if they didn’t recognize him as a Maple Leafs player. This openness to new experiences and people reflects a positive and approachable character.

Insight Four: Woll Has the Ability to Disconnect and Recharge

By turning off his phone and immersing himself in the serenity of the Alps, Woll demonstrated the ability to disconnect from the demands and pressures of his high-profile profession. This suggests a thoughtful approach to mental well-being and a desire to recharge and find balance in life.

Insight Five: Woll Appreciates Nature

Woll’s enjoyment of the natural world, from the beauty of the mountains to the company of mountain goats, shows his appreciation for nature and his ability to find solace and peace in his own skin.

Woll’s Comfort With a Solo Adventure

Perhaps even more than the five insights I’ve listed above, I was taken by Woll’s decision to embark on this Alpine hiking trip by himself. For me, that gave me some insight into his high level of comfort and his self-assuredness. 

Joseph Woll, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It suggests to me that Woll is independent. Having hiked through the Swiss Alps – although not by myself – I found it interesting that he chose to go it alone. While Switzerland is a foreign country, it’s not “so” foreign as to be uncomfortable. Yet, hiking through challenging terrain by oneself shows a strong sense of independence.

Woll was comfortable navigating his own journey, making decisions, and handling whatever situations that arose. It also suggests that Woll is self-reliant. His comfort level is evident.

Related: Joseph Woll Could Be Key to Maple Leafs’ Future

The fact that Woll spent long stretches alone, listening to suggests that he doesn’t need constant company or external distractions. He appears at ease with himself. It suggests that he’s open to changes in his plans and is both open and approachable – Good for answering media questions out of left field.

The Bottom Line

This interesting story portrays Woll as an adventurous, determined, open-minded, and balanced person. He values personal challenges and the growth these bring. He’s far from only being a hockey player. Perhaps when his playing career is over, he’ll become the new Kelly Hrudy.

Overall, Woll’s solo adventure in the Alps suggests to me that he has characteristics that would make him a good NHL goalie. First, he’s developed the qualities of mental toughness, independence, and adaptability, all of which are valuable attributes for a solid NHL goalie. 

One has to believe that everything in a goalie’s life would funnel into how he plays the position. If so, Woll’s experiences outside the boards should positively impact his mindset and performance when he’s on the ice in the heat and chaos of the battle.

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