This story appears during FCA Magazine’s November/December 2017.
Geneva, Illinois Class:
• Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2017)
• NCAA Champions (2016, 2015)
• Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2016)
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:14-17
Growing up, Sidney Peters watched her older brother, Jake, play hockey. Peters asked herself a question: Why sit in the stands all the time when I can be on the ice, too? Hockey soon became her favorite sport. When Peters was 10, she committed her life to Jesus Christ at a Hockey Ministries International camp. Since arriving at Minnesota in 2013, Peters has encouraged her teammates through her faith. She also started a Bible study for her team.
FCA: How does hockey translate to your faith?
SP: I believe that my faith gives me a lot of perspective on and off the ice. It helps me to recognize that hockey is not my identity. My identity is in Christ. I get my value from who I am in Christ and not from my performance. That gives me a lot of assurance and confidence and it helps me to play loose and to step out on the ice with the focus of glorifying God through my actions, my behaviors.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the cycle of trying to prove yourself every day and trying to seek validation in your teammates and your coaches. What I’m here to do is serve the Lord and to become more like Him every day. Those are the things that really matter. It’s vital to my hockey career and I don’t think I would be where I’m at if I didn’t have my faith.
FCA: Why is Ephesians 6:14-17 important to you?
SP: The verses talk about how God created us to be warriors. It goes on to describe the equipment that God has given us, the sword of the spirit, the salvation, all these pieces of equipment that He’s given us as tools to help us fight the good fight. That verse is special because I’m a goalie. I spend a lot of time taking my gear on and off and thinking about equipment. I just think it’s cool to have equipment on and off the ice. I have my hockey gear, but I also have my spiritual gear that God’s given me. It’s a cool metaphor that I’ve always thought was relevant for hockey players.
FCA: How do you share your faith?
SP: I try to spend most of my time focusing on being the best person I can be and being heard and following God’s directions for my life. I use my behavior as a way to open the door for people to ask questions. If they’re wondering why I believe a certain thing or talk a certain way or have a certain routine that’s centered on my faith, that provides the opportunity for me to have a more intimate conversation with them. Instead of talking at people and leading with a hammer, I try to just live my life the way the Bible says that I should. That’s when the best conversations happen, when people see that I’m being genuine and that this is something that I really do believe in and try to apply to my life.
FCA: How do you feel God has molded you through sports?
SP: My freshman year, I came in to a team that didn’t lose a game the season before. We ended up going 62 games straight without losing. I walked into a program where I had enormous shoes to fill. One thing I believe is that with history and tradition come responsibility. That puts a lot of pressure on me to live up to these expectations that have been set for me.
It helps me to handle that stress that comes with that pressure by seeking comfort in God. It’s so tough every day when you step on the ice to have all these expectations from the fans and the coaches and of yourself. I think my faith has been essential for my health and to find joy because there is so much pressure on me and this team.
FCA: Spiritually, what do you want to get out of this season?
SP: The biggest things that I’ve been focusing on is community and trying to see pain differently. I’ve been really trying to focus on my relationships with my teammates and pouring into them and just letting them be encouraging to me. The Bible talks about how it’s important to surround ourselves with people who are going to help us grow.
The Bible also talks about suffering as a good thing. It produces perseverance, which leads to character, which leads to hope. When I’m going through these hard times, it’s reassuring to know that God allowed this pain, for example with my hip surgery, for a reason because it’s going to help me grow. He’s going to use it for His good and my good and for His glory.
Photos courtesy of Eric Miller/Gopher Athletics.