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   When the Predators made him their No. 1 pick, however, “I was happy because they were an up-and-coming team that wanted to build from the draft,” Hamhuis describes.

   Yet, despite having achieved his childhood dream of making the NHL, Hamhuis stakes his worth in a far steadier source — that is, Jesus Christ. “I grew up in a Christian home with my parents, Marty and Ida, and sisters, Erin and Cindy,” he says.

   “Smithers is a small town in which I have a lot of relatives, so our lives were always family-oriented. I publicly professed my faith when I was 15, the summer before I left to play junior hockey.”

   Moving away from home can shake anyone’s foundation, but Hamhuis held firmly to his beliefs. “My faith was challenged, and I found out the importance of what Christian family and friends can mean in staying close to the Lord,” says Hamhuis.

   “Trying to fit in with (teammates) was one of the hardest things to do; you want to be cool so you want to go to parties and have fun. But then I realized they would respect me more for standing up in what I believe, and I was right.”

   Hamhuis says the team now “has a great chapel with five or six guys who have shown a lot of interest in growing their faith. It is encouraging to have guys to talk to about spiritual things.”

   The Preds’ chaplain Pike Williams knows that Hamhuis takes his faith seriously; “Dan pursues spiritual growth opportunities wherever he can. He consistently participates in the chapels and attends church when his schedule allows.”

   It’s life’s difficulties and struggles that keep the rookie drawing on God’s strength. And by doing so, he’s discovered good things can result from hardships — as exemplified by the time he broke his leg.

   “It was right before a big tournament that all scouts would be at to prepare for the upcoming junior draft,” recalls Hamhuis. “I passed through the draft that summer and the following season was listed by the Cougars. This kept me close to home, and I was able to live with my uncle and aunt; it also happens to be where I met my fiancée.”

   Hamhuis says scenarios such as this one make it clear that “Jesus has a plan for my life.”

   For this reason, despite the distractions and pressures of hockey, Hamhuis seeks to keep his concentration on God.

   “Knowing that all the wonderful things that have happened to me are from God, and not my own ability, is how I stay focused on Him,” Hamhuis explains. “To keep myself in the right mind-set, I read a devotion or Christian literature and pray every night before bed. This keeps me focused and energized to live in a way that pleases God.”

   It’s this disciplined lifestyle, on top of his killing penalties and earning time in power plays, that sets Hamhuis apart from his teammates.

   “I believe Dan’s faith is evident in how he conducts himself on and off the ice,” Williams says. “Even though this is his first year in the NHL, he is already well-respected as a hardworking, dedicated and focused player. As people get to know Dan, they can’t help but appreciate his maturity, authenticity and humility.”

   The chaplain adds, “My wife and I have spent time with Dan and his fiancée, Sarah, and we’ve had a wonderful time getting to know them. They are preparing to marry in June, and share a strong faith in God which is evident in their lives and how they relate to each other.”

   In addition to anticipating marriage, Hamhuis looks forward to a future in hockey. Yet no matter what happens, he’s content.

   “My goal is to live the life God has given me to the full, taking advantage of everything He has given me,” says the defenseman. “There are things I would like to accomplish, like winning the Stanley Cup, but my faith helps me keep things in perspective, knowing that things of this life are just temporary.”

   Ultimately, Hamhuis comments, “To have a good relationship with God is most important, because it is eternal.”

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