Warriors Alum Working Towards Medical Degree
During his time with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Sam Fioretti was always one of the smartest players on the ice.
That led to him leading the Warriors as the team's captain in his final season and now as he works to earn his medical degree at the University of Alberta.
"I've had quite the journey," Fioretti said.
It hasn't been an easy road for Fioretti to pursue his dream of a career in medicine.
After wrapping up his Western Hockey League career in 2013-14, Fioretti took advantage of the WHL Scholarship Program while attending Acadia University, playing hockey and earning his undergraduate degree in biology between 2014-18.
"Post my undergrad, I didn't happen to get into medical school, so I decided to play in the ECHL and did that for a year, knowing that pro hockey wasn't in the long term cards for me and got a job for a year," Fioretti said.
Fioretti decided to get an MBA from Dalhousie and had a job lined up at an investment bank in Toronto, but the desire to head to medical school remained for the Calgary product.
"I decided to throw one more application out there and they happened to let me in this time around," he said.
Fioretti said the WHL Scholarship Program played an integral part in helping him get to that moment.
"It's absolutely amazing and I don't think people appreciate it when they're playing junior hockey because they don't necessarily understand the economic burden of what schooling is," he said.
Fioretti said it took him until his second year at Acadia University to truly understand the impact that the program had.
"I was sitting at a table with some people in my class and they were talking about student loans and the amount of debt that they had to undertake to get through the program - and don't get me wrong now in medical school I get my debt - but at that moment, it was foreign to me, school was paid for," he said.
"I was coming out of school with my undergraduate degree and without any student debt."
Fioretti was a hard working player over four seasons with the Warriors, playing in 269 games from 2010-14.
He was a part of the Warriors team that advanced to the Eastern Conference Final during the first season in the Moose Jaw Events Centre, finishing with 21 goals and 47 points in 65 games that season.
"Just that entire run was one of the most fun times of my life, hockey related," Fioretti said. "It was amazing, we had such a good team, an unbelievable group of guys, I remember everybody got along so well."
Fioretti's best season came as a 19-year-old when he finished with 32 goals and 75 points.
In his final season in 2013-14, Fioretti was named the captain of the Warriors.
He said he learned a lot about life away from the rink from former Warriors head coach Mike Stothers.
"He was very influential in a way about who I wanted to be as a leader and that you can be honest with people and you can also care about them and be a nice person at the same time," Fioretti said.
"I look back on my time as captain and it wasn't something I had fully developed at that time either, so I think that lesson is something that I really want to take forward into my future profession."
From a hockey player to a doctor isn't an easy journey, but it's one that Fioretti has been focused on achieving for a long tie.
Fioretti said a curiosity about science drew him to medicine as a career.
"I really enjoy sciences, human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, all that stuff is extremely interesting and I always wanted a profession and something that I was interested in," he said.
"Just seeing physicians work with patients is something that I really wanted in my profession, the ability to have somebody come in there dealing with something - it might be the lowest moment of their life, it might be a general checkup, whatever it might be - but having the ability to help individuals is kind of cliche, but just feel rewarded in what I'm doing."
In his second year of medical school, Fioretti is still finding his specialization.
"I was kind of naive getting into medical school, but how broad of a spectrum medicine really is and all the different opportunities that it entails," he said. "I'm kind of in that process of shadowing different professions.
"As an athlete, I've heard it a lot from many ex hockey players that are in the medical profession, things like surgery of interest because you're tangibly doing something, so right now something surgery related is where I'm leaning."
Fioretti is also doing research in internal medicine with lung transplants.
He said it's still a long road ahead, but he feels his time as a hockey player helped prepare him for that journey.
"It's resilience at the end of the day," Fioretti said. "Sports teaches you those invaluable lessons of resiliency and all of that and I don't think I would be anywhere near the person that I am or have the life lessons that I did if I didn't pursue sports at a high level, especially in Moose Jaw."
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