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Part Two – Newton’s Journey

Photo Credit Jake Newton Archieve

This is the second the three part series with Jake Newton as reprinted from the Hockey News that he sent us to post up.

A year after that, he was repping the Lincoln Stars at the USHL All-Star Game. By 2009-10, he’d made the NCAA all-rookie team with Northeastern. That’s when the Ducks came calling.

Newton did everything he could to lock away his demons during his ascent, but they couldn’t stay hidden. Whenever things got violent on the ice, he saw his cousin and “instantly clicked into little Jake,” he said. 

The day after that fight-filled NHL pre-season game in 2010, the Ducks sent Newton down to AHL Syracuse. He never made it back up. 

He was traded to Colorado the next season, then demoted from the AHL to the CHL, and that’s when the demons really ran him down. 

The Allen Americans played in Texas, not far from the bordering town of Frisco, where he’d played in the NAHL, and he had too many friends nearby. 

He began to drink heavily. He got addicted to chewing tobacco. 

He cheated on his wife. All that suppressed terror from his childhood made him want to kill the pain, and it was destroying his opportunities in hockey and hurting the people closest to him.

After the 2011-12 season, he reached a crucial crossroads. He chose recovery. 

He began intensive therapy, multiple times a week, including couples therapy with his wife. He unearthed buried memories from his childhood. 

He began to understand how the past was holding back his hockey future, making him timid, and why he was sabotaging all the relationships in his life with self-destructive behavior.

The choice to seek help saved Newton’s career. Starting in 2012-13, he began to rise up the European ranks. He became a champion and league MVP in the Italian League. He made it to the Finnish Liiga, then the Czech Extraliga.

The off-ice healing was helping him on the ice. Still, not everything was right. He and his wife had two children, and the bouncing around from country to country made life difficult. Eventually, his wife gave him the ultimatum: come home with her and the kids, or stay in Europe by himself. 

Newton decided he had to maintain his best income source, so he stayed behind. He realized then he still wasn’t at peace mentally yet. 

He began a path of self-discovery. He took up yoga, and he got hooked on a book about self-reflection and meditation called 

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Newton started to explore a different way to deal with problems in his life: to not let them rule him emotionally, to understand that he had to be the source of his own happiness.

It worked. He achieved a level of self love he never thought he could. And now, playing in Norway, divorced from his wife, he feels the best he’s ever felt about himself and the impact he has on his loved ones – including his kids.

“To be honest with you, I’ve never been in a better place in my life,” said Newton, now 31, during the 2019-20 season. “And I say that as I’m 5,000 miles away from my kids with the challenges that brings.”

Newton devoted himself entirely to learning more about mental health, training his mind to react differently to life events beyond his control and becoming the source of his own fulfillment.

“We were never taught to look in the mirror and put all the responsibility on ourselves to love ourselves unconditionally,” Newton said. “We put the responsibility for our happiness on our partners or on our friends or on our parents.

They’re going to be able to do it every now and then, but if you don’t have that on your own, if you haven’t cultivated that yourself, you’re going to continue to need these people around you to feel that inner happiness.

If you can do it yourself, you don’t need anybody. 

Now you want them because they amplify you, they maximize you.”

He has since become a mental-health coach. 

Newton hosts a podcast called RAV: Raw, Authentic and Vulnerable, in which he discusses coping with the trauma of sexual abuse. He posts inspirational Instagram videos daily. 

He holds 1-on-1 sessions with people who are lost souls like he was – anyone from coaches looking to connect with their players to a retired secret-service agent.

He’s had an effect on his own friends, too, like his close buddy Alex Miner Barron, a pro defenseman who grew up in California idolizing Newton, who was three years Barron’s senior.

The two met much later in life, and Miner Barron couldn’t believe how different Newton was from the reputation that had followed him around in the past as someone who struggled with a party lifestyle.