'Sent down? Called up?': Exploring the roller coaster of loans and re-assignments in professional hockey
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Athletes constantly face transitions in their sporting careers, which can influence the quality of their performance and well-being. The purpose of the study is to explore professional hockey players’ lived experiences with being called up and sent down in organizations. For example, an athlete can play in the National Hockey League (NHL) and is then sent down to their affiliated team in the American Hockey League (AHL) for a variety of reasons. The study utilized a phenomenological approach to understand athletes lived experiences with being called up and sent down, this allowed the researcher to move beyond brief descriptions toward understanding this specific transition athletes face. Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, which occurred with six current hockey players (five current professional athletes and one competitive athlete). Data-analysis followed a two-phase process analysis to determine themes and patterns within each interview and then compared patterns across interviews to see what is common across interviews. The results were presented in three clusters such as the performance and well-being of an athlete, external influences on career, and interpretations of experiences. Further research is needed to explore the impact that loaning can have on an athlete and their well-being.