The Amazing Journey of Bill Clement
It’s well known that the hockey players of the 1970s were not paid much more money than the rest of the population. Back then, when owners had all the leverage and convicted felon R. Alan Eagleson was in control of the union, some players had to get a job in the off-season just to make ends meet. Very few players, other than a handful of superstars, would have been considered rich men, and almost all of them needed to find a career after hockey. Some of them still didn’t make enough money or ran into other financial issues in retirement, and those are the saddest stories of al.
But for every rule, there are exceptions, and perhaps no player in the 1970s got more total money out of his career than Bill Clement — regardless of how much he earned as a player.
Clement was always a smart player, and he recognized fairly early in his career that he would have to play a role — mostly as a penalty-killer — to enjoy a long career. As a result, he lasted 12 years in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup championship twice. He also did another smart thing back then — a really smart thing.
What he did was to set himself up for life beyond hockey by beginning to work as a broadcaster while he was still an active player. In that sense, he truly saw the future, recognizing that he could parlay his relatively t high-profile — if not high-paying — career into a much longer one that, over time, would be more lucrative. Much, much more lucrative.
For the past 30 years or so, Clement has been a familiar face to generations of American hockey fans as one of the top broadcasters in the business. He showed remarkable skill and charisma early in his broadcast career, and he just kept building on that. He moved from hockey to Olympic sports with no trouble at all. He has never been without work as a broadcaster, and he has done voice work in hundreds of TV commercials, often appearing on camera as well.
But Clement did another smart thing — a really, really smart thing.
Clement set himself up to retire with a lot of money in the bank by parlaying his broadcasting skills into another field — motivational speaking. Today, he is a highly sought-after speaker — the kind of guy big companies love to put up in front of their employees to talk about leadership, teamwork, etc. And Clement is really, really good at it. Just watch some of the Youtube videos, and you’ll see what I mean.
In fact, Clement is such a good motivational speaker that he makes it possible for me to enjoy listening to a motivational speech. That’s no easy feat.
So hats off to you, Bill Clement. You have shown that not only is there life after hockey, there are ways to amplify success by continually looking toward the future and setting yourself up for it.
Clement is one of the few players of the 1970s who made far more money (adjusted for inflation) after his career ended than while he was playing. While he was a solid, dependable player, he was not a standout by any means. In today’s NHL, he would make about $2.5 million per year and would never have to work again after his career. But he didn’t play in today’s NHL. Instead, he took what he had and he built on it. And then he built on that. Today he is a true superstar in both the broadcast field and the world of corporate speaking. And he is still going strong.
What better type of person could there be to give a motivational speech?