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Friendship

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali

Last night I had the privilege to join in a video call with five longtime friends. Six old friends from Peterborough in six different cities across North America. We hadn’t been together as a group in a very long time and the effect the call had on me was profound. Out of that experience this blog on Friendship was born.

One positive thing about going through what we are as a society is the time we all now have time to organize and prioritize. We get extremely busy with work, family responsibilities and the day to day hustle and bustle of life. Time is precious.
Now we have some extra time. This is a great opportunity to reach out to old friends and reconnect. Trust me, the reward will make you feel amazing.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow Wilson

What are some benefits of friendships?

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with all of life’s traumas
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits.
    Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah

Most importantly friends just help you feel better.

“A lack of friendships and social support increases the risk of developing an anxiety or depressive disorder,” says Dr. Janice Glover, (Ph.D., licensed psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado), “and one of the key treatment components for depression is helping individuals expand their social network and increase the amount of time they are spending with friends.” In fact, good friendships predict health and happiness as we age better than do our relationships with relatives, two studies from Michigan State University show.

Remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Strengthening your friendships can pay off in better health and a brighter outlook for years to come.
There is no better time to reach out to friends to capture that outlook.

Thank you to my good friends who were on the call and to Gary Lawless for making the call happen.

Look For The Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Fred Rogers

This Sunday as we sit and try to digest all that has transpired in the last ten days, it is a great time to pause and think about what a few special people are now doing for all of us. As always looking to history helps us understand current challenges.

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, 20 August 1940.

Churchill used that famous line in a speech during The Battle of Britain in World War Two, while honoring the bravery and sacrifice of the outnumbered British Air Force fighting off the German Luftwaffe and defending their nation. That quote could easily be applied today to some exceptionally brave people in this country……

Many people in addition to Churchill’s ‘Few’ worked to defend Britain. Ground crews looked after the aircraft. Factory workers helped keep aircraft production up. Volunteers ensured that the thousands of observation posts were continuously manned. Members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) served as radar operators and worked as plotters, tracking raids in the group and sector operations rooms.
It truly was a team effort.

Here in America, our citizen’s remarkable acts of bravery and sacrifice in times of crisis have made this great country survive and thrive.
That will continue to happen.

In 1776 Continental Congress in Philadelphia authored one of the most profound documents in the history of mankind. The founders set out to create a new nation. One conceived in liberty, where individual rights were to be absolute and where freedom would reign supreme. In an extraordinary act of bravery and patriotism, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence and The United States was formed. For over 240 years, The U.S. has endured a long and arduous journey to keep the nation alive.

On D-Day, it was our soldiers who ran straight at the Nazis. During many wars and conflicts it was the military, with the support and sacrifice at home of military families, who led our battles for freedom. On 9/11 it was the firefighters who ran into burning buildings to save lives as others were running out.
Today during our newest battle it’s the doctors and nurses, running straight to danger as the rest of the world isolates from it. Others are volunteering for new drug trials. Don’t forget the grocery store clerks, cashiers, baggers…. the bank tellers…..the take out drive thru kids……truckers who deliver goods….the post office, the ups and fed ex workers…….the cafeteria workers and housekeeping staffs at the hospitals……..and of course all the other first responders, paramedics and EMTs.

They are the best of us.

But like Churchill’s Britain, it is going to take a team effort. Let’s all think about that and try to do what we can to help and do our part. Take the situation seriously but let’s not panic. Help where you can….heed the advice of the scientists and experts. The country has been through a lot and will get through this.

Because of the helpers.

10 Quotes/10 Books

Our team has a group of players that share what they are reading. During this down time a couple of them asked me what I had going. So I thought I would post a quick blog. First 10 fun reading quotes, followed by 10 books on a suggested shutdown reading list. Enjoy!

1. “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

3. “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz

4.

5. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

6. “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

7. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

8.

9. “The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.” – Benjamin Franklin

10.

1. These Truths. A History of The United States. Jill Lepore. https://www.amazon.com/These-Truths-History-United-States/dp/0393635244

2. The Splendid and The Vile. Erik Larson. A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz https://www.amazon.com/dp/0385348711/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_66.CEbSKEVGPT

3. Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501134639/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_A9.CEb89NWWQ2

4. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers https://www.amazon.com/dp/1419735160/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_eaaDEbCFCC579

5. Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need https://www.amazon.com/dp/0735291411/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_OcaDEb6F6EA67

6. John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335015922/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_seaDEb0PBNTXR

7. The Hope Of Glory. Jon Meacham https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Glory-Reflections-Words-Jesus/dp/0593236661

8. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316486639/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_YfaDEbY9XYTWB

9. Me: Elton John Official Autobiography https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250147603/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_whaDEbRXDCYRT

10. You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250297192/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_ViaDEbTZA194W

Time’s Yours

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
–Anne Frank

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
–Benjamin Franklin

It’s been about a week now since all of our lives changed drastically with the news of the Coronavirus spreading in North America. Our season was paused and we obviously don’t know when or if we will get back to the rink this season. Like so many of you, I am confused and stunned by today’s reality.

Years ago when I was working in the Player Agency/Representation business, I started writing a fun hockey-related blog as a way to help me sort out my thoughts and connect with our young players. I guess it was my own self-imposed therapy that helped me through some challenging times. When I took the job with the Philadelphia Flyers, to work with their young defense prospects in Lehigh Valley, I felt like I should take a break from it and focus on the job at hand. Plus, there are not too many pro coaches writing blogs so I thought I better conform to the norm…..

But now like everyone else, I am faced with a lot of time on my hands and also facing this growing uncertainty of what the future holds. So, I thought I’d rely on my old crutch and do a little bit of writing. I’m in no way an expert on any of this but whatever gets you through the night…..right?

As coaches we spend an enormous amount of time watching video, game planning and discussing systems. We like to think we control a lot more than we actually really do.
We are now all faced with a real situation that can’t be solved by watching a computer screen or going to a white board. This is very human.

We are also selfish. We would love to be back competing and trying to win that next game….. But this game has to be won first. This virus has to be slowed down and contained to prevent an overwhelming strain on our healthcare system. True, this probably won’t be that serious to the young and healthy among us. But, to the elderly and medically vulnerable, it is imperative that it get slowed. We all have to realize this now and do our part to help stop the spread. Hockey and sporting events can surely wait.

So now we have time. More than we’re accustomed to. More than we’re comfortable with.

I took a few days to really just think. Think about hockey. Think about the journey to this point. Think about my family. Think about life. About what to do if this social distancing continues and even evolves into a quarantine situation.
So here is what I came up with that I want to share:
The one thing that really hit me was just how important other things in life are and not just hockey. I am getting to spend a lot of time with my family and that has been such a needed thing.

And why not use this time to get better. Become a better player, a better coach, a better Dad, a better person…..whatever. Take this time as a blessing and turn all of this into a some kind of growth period. But don’t waste it. It is a gift.

Remember that during quarantine, Shakespeare wrote King Lear; Isaac Newton laid the foundations for his laws of motion.

Or to tie it back to hockey, consider Wilbur Wright one of the fathers of modern aviation. In the winter of 1885-86, an accident changed the course of Wilbur’s life. He was badly injured in an ice hockey game on a frozen pond in Dayton, Oh. He was high-sticked in the mouth and suffered serious dental injuries and spent weeks in bed and months confined to home. He was plagued by that injury throughout his entire life. Wilbur spent much of this period at home, reading books in his family’s library and during this time he developed a passion for mechanical problem-solving. This new found passion became a driving force that ultimately led to man’s first flight. 

So down time doesn’t need to be wasted time.

 

Here is some great advice from an actual expert on dealing with this situation. This is by Claudia W. Allen, a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Science at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. (The full article link is below)

Go Outside
If you’re not confined to the house, exercise outside. Exercise, sunlight and being around trees all benefit mood. Exercise has such a positive effect on mood it is actually a prescribed treatment for mild to moderate depression. Make it a priority on your daily schedule.
Be Intentional

Use any extra time very intentionally; don’t drift through the weeks. Pick one or two things you’ve wanted to learn about or how to do and teach yourself. Plan to come out of this quarantine with a new skill or hobby.
Beware of Too Much Social Media

Use social media wisely. No doubt, social media is your friend when isolated. But resist scrolling through Facebook and Instagram endlessly; that won’t really feed your need for connection, but has been shown in some studies to actually make people feel left out or “less than.” Instead, use social media to meaningfully connect. Plan weekly (or even daily) group video chats with friends, family, neighbors or colleagues. Social connection is one of the most important drivers of well-being.
Be a Helper

Helping others is a known mood-booster. Be aware of who in your circle might be particularly vulnerable during this time and check on them by phone or email.

Me, I’m gonna continue to challenge myself to read books that will help me grow as a leader and coach. I will do some writing that I probably will never post anywhere but I know that it helps me cope……..

I will continue to annoy my wife and son by pounding away at my piano……I will get outside and enjoy some golf…..I will take some time to reflect on the journey. But the most important thing will be the time spent with my family and realizing how truly blessed we are. There will be no down time.

Stay safe, wash you hands…….and challenge yourself to find a way to get better during this time.
Hockey will be back at some point. Better than ever. And it’s healing and bonding ways will be needed when the time is right.
But for now, let’s remember the wise words of Super Bowl winning coach Andy Reid and how he ended every press conference …. “Time’s yours……”

Article
https://news.virginia.edu/content/how-protect-your-mental-health-during-quarantine

 

Love, Serve, Care

This is a great new post by writer Jon Gordon that I really wanted to share. Whether coaching Mites or Pros, this philosophy remains true for all.
Hope you enjoy!

Love, Serve, Care

By Jon Gordon

When I’m asked what someone can do to be a leader I tell them to love, serve and care and positively influence the people around them.

A great example of this is Ken Crenshaw, the head athletic trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most people outside the building wouldn’t know who he is but if you asked the team who’s one of the most influential people in the building they would say Ken Crenshaw. He helps players recover from injuries, listens to their personal and professional challenges, shares advice and frequently hands out inspirational books (some of mine) to encourage his players. He’s part trainer, part psychologist, part librarian and 100% leader.

I saw his influence first hand while visiting him at the Diamondbacks spring training facility the other day. As he showed me around, I met player after player who had read The Carpenter or Training Camp because Ken gave them a copy and encouraged them to read it. They didn’t know me from Adam. But they knew Ken and trusted him because he loves, serves and cares.

I wasn’t supposed to speak to the team but that happened too because Ken recommended it to the new manager, and even though he had never heard of me, he trusted Ken’s suggestion.

Regardless of your profession or level within an organization I want you to know that you don’t need a title to be a leader. You don’t need a job description, fancy suit or a corner office. You simply need to love, serve and care to influence the people around you and your influence will grow.

Many people say to focus on growing your business and career. But I say to focus on loving, serving and caring and your business and career will grow exponentially. Focus on loving, serving and caring one person at a time and people will be drawn to you and your business, service, school, class, project, hospital, etc.

Do this day in and day out, one person at a time and the impact you have and the legacy you leave will be amazing. You won’t just experience success for yourself. You will be a true success by helping others be successful.

#LoveServeCare

http://www.jongordon.com/

Best wishes for a successful finish to the season.
Coach Huff

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The Grass Isn’t Greener

The Grass Isn’t Greener
By Jon Gordon
www.JonGordon.com

We often think that the grass will be greener somewhere else.

We believe we’ll be happier and more successful anywhere but where we are.

And so we pursue happiness.

And chase success.

Thinking one day we will magically find them. But rarely will we find find happiness and success by seeking them.

I’ve learned if you want success you can’t chase it.

Instead you must decide to make a difference where you are… and success will find you.

I’ve learned if you want to find happiness don’t seek it.

Instead decide to work with passion and purpose… and happiness will find you.

Happiness is a byproduct of feeling fulfilled.

The key to experiencing real success and true happiness is to be The Seed and plant yourself.
When you plant yourself where you are with a passionate desire to make a difference you’ll grow into the influencer you were born to be.

When you serve in small ways you get more opportunity to serve in bigger ways.

Too many people want instant success and gratification right now! Too many athletes want to be traded because think they’ll be more successful on another team. Too many employees complain that their co-workers aren’t working hard enough and this affects their own performance. Too many sales people compare themselves to others and become frustrated and disengaged. Too many people worry about what everyone else is doing instead of focusing on what they are doing. Too many people run from challenges instead of developing stronger roots.

If you are like me, you’ve been one of these people. Most of us have at one time or another. It’s human nature after all.

That’s why I want to encourage you to remember that your job is not to worry about things you can’t control.

Your job is not to run away from where you are in the hope of finding greener pastures.

Your job is to plant yourself each day and be the best you can be and bring out the best in others.

Your job is to grow yourself and grow others.

When you do this and allow yourself to be used for a greater purpose, a greater purpose will move through you and bring greater opportunities, greater success and greater joy and happiness to you.

The greenest pasture is not somewhere else. It’s the place where you plant yourself and grow into the leader you were born to be. When you do, you’ll produce an abundant harvest filled with real success and true happiness.

Hockey CEO

Some of the young hockey players I have worked with have gotten a kick out of me telling them that they are the President and CEO of their own company. I have tried to illustrate to them in a fun way that they really are running their own business. They are managing themselves, developing a player (product) and building a brand as they work towards their goals. Some understand that concept right away and it takes others some time to realize that.

Recently I read a book by Richard Branson, one of the world’s most renowned CEOs and entrepreneurs. He is one of the most successful businessmen in the UK and an icon of entrepreneurship. His latest project is Virgin Galactic, which he hopes will one day become a space tourism company. Clearly he is not afraid to dream big and pursue those dreams. Much like many young hockey players…..
At the end of his book, he lists his top ten tips for success.
I thought a lot of the list relates well to young Hockey Player CEOs so I wanted to share it.

Here are his Top Ten Tips for success:

  1. Follow your dreams and just do it

Follow your dreams, get involved in life, in the things that interest you. If you are going to create a business, make sure it is your hobby, your passion or something that you really enjoy.

You will live a much better life that way. Don’t just set out to do something for the sake of making money.

I think lots of people have lots of great ideas, but very few people actually go out and try to put them into practice.

There are lots of people who think that somebody must have done that before, or you’ll never raise the money or you shouldn’t take a risk in life.

It’s the people who say I’m just going to do it, that end up having a chance of having a much more exciting and rewarding life.

  1. Make a positive difference and do some good

The first thing to do if you want to become an entrepreneur is basically to have an idea that is going to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. A business is simply that.

If you’re running a business you are in a position where you can make a hell of a difference in this world.

I also think it’s great for the staff of a company that they can feel good about a company that is actually getting out there and doing good.

  1. Believe in your ideas and be the best

You definitely need to believe in your idea. There’s really no point in doing something in life unless people feel really good about it and proud about it. You’ve got to have passion for it and you’ve got to be able to inspire other people to have a passion for it too.

If an idea is a good idea you should be able to pitch it in two or three sentences and two or three sentences fit very neatly on the back of an envelope.

There was no point creating a new airline unless it was going to be palpably better than every other airline in the world, you’ve got to make sure that every aspect of what you do is better than the competition.

  1. Have fun and look after your team

I 100% believe that it’s important to have fun and if you’re not having fun anymore, it might be time to move on. You should have fun from the top down and create the kind of environment that’s pleasant to work in.

Make sure that you’ve got the kinds of people running your companies who genuinely care about people, who look for the best in people and who praise and don’t criticize.

People are not that unlike flowers. If a flower is watered it flourishes and if a flower is not watered it dries up and dies and I think the same applies to people.

  1. Don’t give up

It’s extremely important not to give up. There have been situations in my adventures, like crossing the pacific in a balloon, where the odds were stacked very heavily against us surviving.

Being an entrepreneur is not that dissimilar to being an adventurer. You have plenty of situations where your back is right up against a wall and you’ve just got to work day and night to make sure you overcome the difficulties a particular company finds itself in. Brush yourself down the next day and move on into something else.

I think I’m reasonably good at dealing with failure and not letting it get me down for more than an hour or two as long as I put everything I can into avoiding it.

  1. Make lots of lists and keep setting yourself new challenges

I make copious lists because I think it’s the little details that make for an exceptional company over an average company. Details are very important and I think it’s important to keep setting yourself new challenges and targets.

I do believe that the first of the year is a good time to write down your goals for the year. Unless you actually organize yourself and write down the kinds of things you want to achieve, there’s a danger that as time slips by, you don’t achieve a lot.

  1. Spend time with your family and learn to delegate

One of the early things you have to do as an entrepreneur is learn the art of delegation. Find people who are better than you to run the companies on a day-to-day basis, freeing yourself up to think about the bigger picture and spend time with your family.

That’s very important, especially if you’ve got children, they are what’s going to be left when you’re gone.

I know I’m a good entrepreneur, but I’m not sure that I’d be a very good manager and there is a difference. My mind is always thinking ahead and wanting to create new things.

I just think once I’ve set something up, it’s better if someone else runs it. I can dive in and out and be a pain occasionally, but the day-to-day business is better for somebody else to do.

  1. Try turning off the TV and get out there and do things

My mum brought us up very much to get out there and do things, don’t watch other people do things, and don’t watch television. I think that was a good way of bringing up kids. With my own kids, we’ve spent quite a lot of time in the Caribbean and we never watch television there.

I think I am capable of switching off on Necker Island which is where we sort of pull up the drawbridge. But what I’m doing I see as so fascinating, so rewarding, so interesting that I don’t ever really want to switch off too much because I find myself in such a wonderful, challenging position that I don’t want to waste that position and there are just so many important challenges going on.

  1. When people say bad things about you, just prove them wrong

There are people who hang onto the coat tails of successful people and try to sell a few books on the back of their name. It’s unpleasant but you know that if you sue them or kick up a fuss, all it will do is publicize the book. So I’ve had to learn the art of ignoring people like that.

I think the best thing to do is just to prove them wrong in every single way. This particular book, (Branson: Behind the Mask by Tom Bower), says that our spaceship program is a white elephant, later this year we will prove them wrong.

  1. Do what you love and have a sofa in the kitchen

You only live one life, so I would do the thing that you are going to enjoy. When life boils down, this might sound like a little much coming from me, I do have my own little island in the Caribbean, but when we are on that island, we tend to just live in the kitchen.

The truth is, so long as you’ve got a kitchen which has space for a sofa, and a bedroom, and a partner that you love, you don’t necessarily need the add-ons in life.

Then, if you’re doing something that really interests you, it will result in a much more enjoyable life rather than just doing something for the sake of making money.

_73577267_bransonspaceship_ap

Branson stands in front of a large photo of his SpaceShipTwo – the commercial spaceship undergoing tests in California’s Mojave Desert

Good luck and make your company a great one!

If you are looking for a fun book to read for a bus ride or road trip, here you go. Thanks to CEO Branson!

http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Way-Everything-About-Leadership-ebook/dp/B00K5WAU4Y/ref=la_B000APPS34_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458049634&sr=1-2

Coaches Want Climbers

pond_hockey

I have always had an intense interest in mountains and mountain climbing. I’m really not sure why but they have always fascinated me. Maybe it was traveling through the Rocky Mountains a few times with my family as a very young boy and being overwhelmed by the beauty and power. Something just always stuck with me from that experience. I guess that is why I included ‘Summit’ in the title of this blog.
The young players I have coached will attest that Coach Huff is always reliable for a whacky or strange mountain climber story or analogy.  (see last paragraph in “For All The Coaches” https://thehockeysummitblog.com/2014/08/16/for-all-the-coaches-2/ )
Here’s one that I hope you enjoy as much as I do and share with your players as well.

Quitters, Campers, and Climbers

Quitters.
Dr. Paul Stoltz described three types of people. All of them begin in the valley, staring at the mountain of life: quitters, campers, and climbers. Even though all human beings are born with the urge to climb, and there are billions of people in the world, the mountaintop remains practically empty. What happens to all of life’s mountain climbers? Most end up compromising what they truly want for what is immediately available because they are unwilling to endure the painful climb, so they become “given-ups” instead of grownups. Life’s quitters see the mountain’s jagged cliffs, threatening storms, and endless paths as dangerous, deciding to pass on the climb entirely, avoiding the process rather than risking failure. By denying their God-given urge to climb, they make compromises in their lives. Quitters are typically people who entertain themselves to death, escaping into noncontributing time-consuming activities. They keep themselves busy doing mindless activities in order to avoid the mountain; they are doing everything not to climb. They suffer the worst pain of all— the pain of regret— for a life spent in service to self, not to others. The worst quitters, those having no more conscience, solicit others to join their lamentable condition.

Campers, on the other hand, start climbing the mountain. They are excited about the opportunities on the mountainside, beginning life’s climb enthusiastically. However, at some point, through a combination of successes already achieved and the pain associated with further climbing, they cease the process, compromising their ideals and selling out their courage for the comfort of camp. They may achieve a nice mountain view, but their best days are behind them, surrendering their future for doing “pretty good.” Although campers know the price of the climb, they are unwilling to pay it any longer. They may convince themselves that they are only resting for a season, but few will ever break camp. Some of the most talented people are content in camp, having achieved a good lifestyle, fooling themselves that this is more important than their purpose. Don’t misread this; everyone needs a vacation once in a while to refresh, but not a vacation for the rest of one’s life. Take a break when needed, but never compromise your calling for your comforts. Vacations end, but a person’s purpose only ends when his life ends.

Climbers are the last group. These are people who refuse to compromise their calling and convictions, deciding to press on with their journey, no matter how painful the climb is, as far as they can go. They know they were called to climb the mountain and are willing to do the work in order to accomplish it. Climbers are a rare breed— they never sacrifice their convictions for conveniences since they understand that life isn’t about obtaining the best spot in camp or gathering the most items in the tent. Life isn’t about possessions, but about purpose; it’s about the climb. Climbers have learned that one of the keys to a happy life is fulfilling one’s purpose, becoming who he is intended to be, not necessarily by reaching the top, but through the constant effort to improve. A true climber battles his mountain, and in the process, he conquers himself. His climb leaves a path for others to follow in pursuit of their purpose, teaching other climbers the lessons he has learned through life’s mountain climb. Each person must make his own decision while staring at life’s mountain. Will he quit, camp, or climb?

Let’s hope your team is filled with Climbers.
Have a great week!
Huff

Forget Me Not

Most of you know that I write this blog to share hockey information and touch on a lot of different topics related to hockey.
I also use this platform as my own little therapy session and it helps me get things off my chest or out of my head at times.

This is one of those times.

It is an incredible time of year to focus on friends, family, and yes, your hockey family as well.

Two years ago I wrote a post titled, Yesterday, Hockey Won. https://thehockeysummitblog.com/2013/11/04/yesterday-hockey-won/
The topic involved a tragic situation but illustrated the magic healing qualities that I feel hockey possesses.
I tell you today, the game is still winning.

This year has been a particularly tough one for our family. We have watched one of our members suffer immensely with Alzheimer’s disease. As anyone who has been touched by this brutal affliction, the toll it takes on that person and everyone close to them is intense. I’ve watched my close family members suffer greatly and try to make sense of it all. (Please visit http://www.alz.org/ to learn more or donate to the fight of this horrible sickness.)

Once again through it all, as a lot of us do, I was lucky to find comfort by going to the rink. This is where the true value of sports and particularly Hockey is found.
Over many years I’ve seen the game be a healing platform for death, sickness, divorce, worry, despair, depression, addiction and all kinds of other heartaches people have encountered along the way. It continues on today.
Life comes at you very hard sometimes, but guess what? So does Hockey.
I have found myself traveling to the rink this year many times feeling down and a bit beaten up, only to share a laugh or smile with a young player who accomplishes something good or simply works hard and has fun. Inevitably one of our players shows some development that makes me remember that life is about hope and growth. Again, in a very short time the game revitalizes me.
One of my roles with our team is to sit with our players and help provide them guidance on deciding where to go to college and play hockey. It is an awesome experience and helps remind me what it is all about. It makes me feel good that this person has so much life ahead of them and their optimism glows through. It shows me hope is strong. It diminishes the struggles.
That is what hockey can do.

I just pray that no matter if these young players become college players, professional players, men’s league players, coaches, or future parents of a player….that they keep the game with them.  I hope they have the game help them through the tough times like so many of us have.
It can be a sword and a shield for them in good times and bad.

I am proud to say our family has reacted like good hockey teams do. They have rallied and worked together and shown true toughness and resiliency. They have picked each other up when needed.
It is heartwarming to know that my wife and father-in-law, usually not able to leave and get to our games to watch live, make it a point to log in and watch most games online. I know that for a short period of time the game gives them some comfort and a break from the pain. That is what hockey can do.

When life comes at you hard…..drop the puck.

Never forget the game, and the game will never forget you.

Happy and safe holidays everyone!

Huff
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One Bite At A Time

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The Youth and Junior hockey seasons began over the last several weeks and I got the chance to see a few of the teams play that I help coach.  I was reminded of a saying that I love that I read in a book on marathon training.  This saying is also my son Caden’s all-time favorite and I use it with him a lot.

Question:  “How do you eat an elephant?”

Answer:  “One bite at a time.”

So I began thinking about this and how it pertains to the approaching hockey season.  It is clear to me that this saying applies to both coaching AND playing.  A bite is a way to ingest nutrients.  Nutrients are essential for growth and change.

Over the years I have learned that the team you begin the season with is never the one you finish it with…ever.

The hockey season is really just a big elephant.  Each week is just one bite of the season…one bite of learning…one bite of practicing…one bite of nourishment…one bite for the opportunity to grow.  It is a long way from August to March.  There are many bites to take and a thousand chances to grow and develop.  It is important to enjoy each and every bite even if some bites taste better than others!

Now some advice.  Don’t be too worried or excited about your team right now.  You will have a chance for many more bites along the way whether you are a player or a coach.  Actually you have a full meal and then some.  If you take your bites properly, chew slowly and do things correctly you will have the chance at the most delicious dessert…one where your team and you have both grown and improved.  Wholesome, nutritious bites are just weeks of great practices and preparation.

So how do you tackle a season that lasts eight months? The same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time.

Just remember to make your bites count.

Good Luck All!

Huff

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