When you hear the word champion, a few of the characteristics that spring to mind are strength, discipline, passion and sacrifice. Brent Sopel displayed all those traits throughout his hockey career, especially while winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks. But even as he climbed to the top of the hockey mountain, there was still something eating away at him that he couldn’t figure out after years of trying. 

It was only shortly before that title, at age 33, that Sopel made a life-changing discovery. He took the oldest of his two daughters, Lyla, to an appointment where she was diagnosed with dyslexia after showing difficulty with reading and writing. Sopel finally understood the root of his struggles after his daughter’s diagnosis as that was the first time he had heard the word dyslexia.  

“If we didn’t get her tested, and if she didn’t have it, I wouldn’t know what I have today, so I would still be struggling as well,” Sopel said. “My immediate focus was on my daughter as she was in Grade 2. Now she’s in first year of college and doing amazing, but we both have gone through a lot of hardships, and the hardest part about dyslexia is if you don’t have it you will have no idea what we go through on a daily basis.”