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Student Spotlight: Chris Beyer, Sports Management

March 9, 2021

Chris Beyer

Good things come to those who wait. For 21-year-old freshman Chris Beyer, that meant waiting for the right college. 

Beyer, a sports management major from Appleton, Wis. spent his first three years out of high school playing junior hockey in Minnesota. The then 18-year-old originally had offers to play college baseball and seriously considered attending Central Michigan University, but ultimately decided to focus on his hockey career. He signed a contract with a junior team based in St. Cloud and moved away from home. 

“I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better first year,” said Beyer. “I moved in with a host family and they were great. They had two kids, one was 13 and the other was four, and I was like a big brother to them and basically a role model. It was a pretty maturing experience.” 

In his second year, he signed with the Minnesota Moose, where he wound up playing against a number of his current Finlandia hockey teammates. By the end of his second year, he decided he wanted to pursue higher education, but said the right offer never came. 

“I had offers, but they weren’t for the right schools, so I ended up resigning with the Minnesota Moose in the USPHL (United States Premier Hockey League)” said Beyer. “As a third year guy coming in, I ended up working my way into a leadership role and wearing a letter.”

As a team leader, he helped propel them to a campaign for the national title that was cut short by COVID.

“Nobody thought we would be in Nationals and we ended up beating the No. 2 team in the country, and then COVID happened and we got sent home,” said Beyer. “So it was kind of a rough way to end my junior career.”

Despite the abrupt end, Beyer is thankful for his experience. 

“Not many people can go out and play juniors for three years and be away from home and experience and make lifelong family,” said Beyer. “Instead of just friends, those guys are like family to me now and they’ll be around for a long time.”

With his junior hockey career over, Beyer decided it was time to pursue a degree. He chose FinnU because of the degree programs, small town community and the ability to go hunting and fishing when he wanted (he didn’t get a deer this season, but hopes to next year). And, of course, hockey. 

“Honestly, it’s been kind of a weird year for everybody and for me,” Beyer said on his experience so far. “With me taking three years off of school and not even taking a college class I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

Add in the COVID-19 pandemic which forced a number of classes online, and one might assume that Beyer had an uphill battle to make the grade. Despite the challenges, Beyer made it on the Dean’s List for the fall semester. He attributes his success to his academic advisor and professor of sports management Steve Nordstrom – affectionately known as Nordy by his students – for making sure he didn’t bite off more than he could chew. 

“Nordy did a good job of setting me up with a lighter class load my first semester to let me get back into it,” said Beyer, who took 13 credits in the fall. “Any class that was in person that I could attend, I did. I didn’t do a whole lot of Zoom if I didn’t have to.” 

Beyer, heeding the advice of his fellow friends and teammates, also tries to finish all homework for the week by Wednesday or Thursday so he can enjoy his weekend. He also takes advantage of the resources on campus, like the Tutoring and Learning Center and Learning Labs

“I’ve used TRIO a couple times this semester for Quantitative Reasoning just to get some clarification,” said Beyer. “The Learning Labs were huge. NCAA requires two hours of tutoring a week and, with Learning Labs built into our schedules, it makes things way easier.” 

When asked about his professors, Beyer said he enjoys the teaching styles he’s encountered so far. 

“The thing that I’ve seen here is that the professors don’t just teach,” said Beyer. “Nordy doesn’t just teach fundamentals of business. He’ll drop a life lesson in there every once in a while. (Nathan) Perreault’s done that a few times now too, where he drops a subtle life lesson in there.”

While being a student athlete is obviously a large part of Beyer’s identity, he’s focused on his future and keeping his eye on his dream job of working in the marketing department with the Green Bay Packers. 

“For me, its easy to more or less not be a meathead and run around and do stupid stuff because obviously that’s going to travel and you never know who knows who around here and who has connections where,” said Beyer. “There could be some day down the road where the Packers are calling up here to learn about me and that could be a decision about a job or not.”

As a result, Beyer’s trying to get more involved on campus, in what limited way he can due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted a number of student activities. 

He’s attended the All Means All Community Meals on Mondays hosted by Pastor Sarah, which he said have been surprisingly good. With the hockey team, he’s volunteered in the community a few times, including over Martin Luther King Jr. Day when the team cut firewood for the Little Brother’s Friends of the Elderly

“You see 25 guys out chopping wood you’d think they wouldn’t’ be having fun but somehow we ended up having fun doing it,” said Beyer. “As long as you go out, involve yourself, go to class and get to know some of your classmates, it’s a much tighter community than you think it is.”

Learn More

International School of Business
Sports Management at Finlandia
FinnU Men’s Hockey

 

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