The long awaited moment of tossing tassels and receiving diplomas, finally came for NHL players Ryan Carter and Tim Jackman.

Minnesota State University-Mankato's 2018 Spring Commencement took place Saturday morning, with graduates ready to flip the next chapter in their lives. 

Carter and Jackman shared laughs and conversations, as they waited for their big entrance into Bresnan Arena. 

Jackman was the first Minnesota State University- Mankato player to be drafted for the NHL back in 2001. He said his school experience has been nothing short of wonderful. 
"There's a lot of people in Mankato that helped me along, I played hockey here in 2000, 2002, said Jackman. 

"It's a real honor to be a Maverick, and now to say that I am an alumni is a special day."

Jackman and Carter had impressive careers in hockey, both playing almost 500 games each, while playing for several teams along the way.

Carter who retired last year with the Minnesota Wild, said it has taken him a while to get here, but he would not change a single thing.

"It's really come full circle and it's been great, the coaching staff here has helped me to graduate and finish this step of it," said Carter.

"But I'm really excited to be done with school, it was a goal of mine." 

The two former NHL players each graduated with their degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies. When asked what they would do next, Carter said he was ready to party.

"I'm hoping that after 15 years, you have 15 bigger graduation party, said Carter.

"But in terms of life and what's next, goals, I'm not sure, I played hockey, I love hockey, I'd like to stay in it in some capacity." 

Jackman said he is trying to get into coaching hockey.  
"I'm not sure exactly where or what level, but I gained a lot of experience here being a part of the hockey team, for the last two years as a student assistant coach," said Jackman. 
Jackman and Carter have proved what many either know or continue to learn, it is never too late to achieve your goals.

--KEYC News 12