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God is alive and working in the professional athletes that play in Winnipeg. 

As the Winnipeg Blue Bombers enter the second half of their season and the Winnipeg Jets start theirs, expectations are sky-high for both.

The Bombers were expected to be a top team this year, but have sputtered recently with four straight losses, including back-to-back losses against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Lorne Korol, the chaplain for the Jets, Bombers, and Manitoba Moose, says the room isn't as worried as the fans are.

"There is a lot of confidence in that room and, even though there have been some setbacks, the guys are very confident that they will bounce back," Korol said.

Korol runs the chapel program and says that this is the best group of people they have ever had with the Bombers. The chaplain runs a weekly Bible study and game day chapel with the players, along with a coaches Bible study. His wife runs a Bible study for the player's wives.

Matthias Goossen, Chris Randle, Drake Nevis, and Kevin Fogg are all part of the leadership team, not only in the chapel but on the field.

"It's a real blessing to see (them)," Korol said. "The rest of the guys know they are Christian athletes but they also recognize them as their leaders on the team."

 

While the Jets haven't started there season, they are also expected to be a top team after last year's run to the conference finals. But more important to Korol than physical success is spiritual success.

"We're excited about what God is doing in that team too," the chaplain said.

Korol has already had a chance to talk to his chapel leader, Mark Scheifele. Scheifele, who is one of the best players in the National Hockey League, works incredibly hard to earn that. But Korol sees much more in him.

"But he loves the Lord," Korol said. "There is a lot of pressure on him . . . for him, it's important to put God first because it helps him keep other things in perspective."

As the season starts, Korol knows that Scheifele is not only going to be a leader in his chapel but is also a leader on the team, wearing the assistant captain label for the young, dynamic group.

"It's going to be exciting to watch God work in their lives."

Korol has often seen his job as not only a pastor but an encourager. He knows that real life gets in the way of hockey, even at the highest level. This was especially prevalent during the Jets' playoff run.

"The guys were under a lot of pressure but they really welcomed that they could get away from the cameras, away from everything and just sit down and have a chapel."

On Thursday, newly-acquired New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner opened up in a letter to The Athletic about his struggle with alcoholism and a recent bipolar disorder diagnosis. Korol understands these struggles firsthand and knows why his job is so important. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"It all comes down to relationship building," said Korol. He hopes he can help players open up to what is happening in their lives so they don't get to the point of complete desperation. 

On Saturday, September 22, Korol will host his annual Pro Sports and Faith Night, which brings his supports and some of the pro athletes together for an incredible evening of stories and faith. Korol raises his own money for his position and this event contributes a large chunk of that.

Korol was so happy to announce that the event had sold out this year, which means everything to him.

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