I would retire from hockey if we won the Stanley Cup. That decision, leading up to the spring of 1989, came as I began to consider what my next career would look like. After we won, I was happy to follow through on that promise to myself. I began to develop all sorts of ideas for a business that would be fulfilling. In the fall after the Cup, my father-in-law Stew Esplen called to suggest I look at an ad he saw in the Globe and Mail. Peters and Co., an Alberta based company, was selling “non-core assets” that turned out to be a small leasing company called “Hartfield Chieftain Leasing.”
I had no experience leading a business but was convinced it was an opportunity to test the lessons I had learned in professional sport. Fleet leasing came unexpectedly. While I’d always had an interest in vehicles – and finance had a certain appeal – neither discipline could be called my passion. Nonetheless, I was excited about working on something new and I believed deeply that bringing a group together to deliver an exceptional product could be fulfilling and rewarding.
We started with 565 units between Calgary and Edmonton and the business was barely breaking even. In 1998, the Western company (Jim Peplinski’s Leasing) was thriving and we merged with my father-in-law’s leasing company in the East (Leasemaster), creating a national leasing firm. This business journey has been a rewarding experience, and one I look fondly on as we continue to live the mantra I brought with me from my time in the NHL. This business has always been about: One Goal. A Thousand Assists.