Former NY Rangers left winger and current South Charlotte resident Mike Hartman was recently inducted into The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Already a 1995 inductee into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Hartman, 45, was honored for distinguishing himself in professional ice hockey. Hartman will have a permanent plaque there alongside many other successful Jewish athletes.
Born February 7, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan, Hartman was drafted in the seventh round, 131st overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1986 NHL Draft. Highlights of Hartman’s hockey career include: playing professional hockey for more than 17 years; representing the U.S.A. in the 1987 World Junior Championships and the 1999 World Championships; playing in Europe for Germany; 10 years (1986-1995) in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers; amassing 43 goals, 35 assists, and 1,388 penalty minutes in 397 regular NHL season games as a left wing.
“My job was to be an ‘energy’ player,” said Hartman the father of four. “It was to go out there and be a real physical player and make body contact. More guys are getting hurt now, more concussions, because they are not allowed to hold them up.” Hartman’s development made him an attractive commodity around the NHL.A midseason trade in 1993 brought Hartman to NY was a member of the New York Rangers when they won the Stanley Cup in 1994 – the first win since 1940. Hartman retired from hockey in 2004 but came back to help out the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL in five different seasons. His last Checkers game was in the finale of the 2008 season.
Hartman never had it easy as he pursued his dream of playing in the NHL. He overcame his smaller size and slower speed with sheer hard work and determination as he outlines in his book 100 Ways to Become Your Personal Best. “My dream was to play one game in the NHL,” said Hartman, “and I made a career out of it. It was surreal to me to be sitting across from guys I idolized. I would pinch myself. My dad, John Hartman, said that I would have done this for free.” Hartman attributed his successes to having goals, staying focused, working hard, and having excellent coaches and mentors.
After retiring, Hartman realized, “…I had a real obligation to pay forward the incredible guidance I received when I was growing up and during my career.” Hartman turned this obligation along with his skills, knowledge, and energy into a career as a life coach. He coaches individuals, companies, athletes and business executives.