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Behind the Bench, Nov 27th - Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019  
By: Michael Moore

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi guys. I hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday week here in the US. It is probably reasonable to assume that many of you have the week off, are playing in a holiday tournament or are sampling the Junior level through an exposure opportunity this week. 

Those of you playing, who is going to win? There is only one correct answer, that is: I am/we are! Why would you answer this any other way? To do so, would be to admit defeat before even attempting to compete. Why play the game at all if you have conceded to the loss before hand? 

This is why optimism is important. Being optimistic gives you a chance and sometimes a chance is all it takes. Don’t believe me? Yes you do. Know why I can confidently say that you do? Because I am optimistic and because every one of you saw what happened to the St. Louis Blues last year. 

On January 3rd (last season) the Blues were in the NHL basement. They didn’t have the team to make a credible Stanley Cup run. They were a mess. Their coach got sacked in November and their goalie was a 25 year old rookie. After a half season completed, their record was the worst in the entire league. The concept of making the play-offs was a laughable suggestion.  Forward Pat Maroon went as far as to say, “I don’t have answers anymore. It’s just kind of embarrassing, to be honest with you.” 

Not exactly positive. The Blues needed to enact a swift and all-encompassing change in mindset. Being negative was not going to give them the chance to compete and they needed to compete more than ever. It was then that, interim coach, Craig Berube began by removing their league standings board from their locker room. “…to see that every day, it doesn’t change quick enough. It’s just a negative effect.”, He said. He could not have been more correct. 

The move initiated a culture shock within the organization. They began to embrace optimism to pull them through. They blasted “Gloria” in the locker room after every win and that song soon found its way into all the man-caves in St Louis. Before too long those of us watching across the continent would be hearing it as well as we watched the Blues hoist their first Stanley Cup. 

The key to St. Louis’ success was optimism. That is what coach Littler wants for us to read up on this week. The following are Coach’s notes on an article written by Darrin Donnelly about Joe Torre and embracing optimism to propel his winning ways. 

(The original article can be found here: SportsForTheSoul
Check it out… 

Joe Torre knows how to win.

As a player, he won a spot on the National League All-Star team nine times. As a manager, Joe Torre won 13 division titles, four World Series championships, and the fifth-most games in the history of Major League Baseball.
Throughout his career, Torre identified several key qualities shared by winners, but there was one single quality that rose above the rest…

· Drive.
· Competitiveness.
· Determination.
· Commitment.

These are the qualities we associate with winners. But each one of these characteristics depends on one other:


Without optimism—that gut-level belief that we can succeed—we are far less likely to realize our dreams. Setbacks and slumps will stop us cold if we don’t have basic faith in ourselves.
No matter how badly we want to succeed, if we don’t feel optimistic about our abilities and our potential, every day is going to be a struggle.
Life deals its blows to each one of us. Whether the setbacks occur in our personal or professional lives, they can ruin our dreams for success - if we let them.

Optimism-is the ability to accept negative events without allowing them to destroy our resolve.

I’ve learned many lessons about life from baseball, and here’s an important one: It’s not always going to be wonderful. Slumps are inevitable, they aren’t signs that we don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Here’s my bottom line: Acknowledge that you’ve had a bad day, but don’t live there. Move on with as much confidence as you can muster.
“If I hadn’t followed this advice, I might have quit baseball a long time ago.” -Joe Torre, from his book Joe Torre’s Ground Rules for Winners
Great coaches, leaders, and achievers all recognize how massively important it is to be optimistic.
And it’s interesting to note how life’s biggest winners all tend to define optimism.
We sometimes hear people say that “optimism” doesn’t work. They tell us they tried “positive thinking,” but it didn’t work for them. They say they that despite thinking only positive thoughts, setbacks still occurred.
But what they’re describing is not “positive thinking,” it’s “wishful thinking.”
This is where Joe Torre’s two-part definition of optimism is crucial to understand. He defines optimism as: “that gut-level belief that we can succeed” and “the ability to accept negative events without allowing them to destroy our resolve.”
In other words, optimism won’t prevent setbacks from occurring. Nothing will.

If you think only positive thoughts, it doesn’t mean that only positive things will be “attracted” to you. That’s just not reality.

Instead, optimism is the fuel you need to overcome the setbacks that will surely come your way as you pursue any worthy goal.
Optimism means believing you will eventually succeed despite the setbacks. It means that as long as you believe in yourself and continue to see the opportunity in every obstacle, the tough times will eventually give way to good times.
Setbacks and adversity are part of the process. There’s no way to avoid them. But, embracing an optimistic attitude will allow you to overcome those setbacks.
As stated in Torre’s book, Relentless Optimism
“Optimism won’t prevent negative events from happening; optimism will ensure that you respond to those negative events in the most beneficial way possible—a way that leads to positive outcomes.”
Tough times will come no matter what. That’s life. But always remember this: 
It may not happen overnight, but if you keep believing in yourself and keep moving forward despite the setbacks, success will eventually follow. That’s how an optimist thinks.

So I’ll ask you gain, who’s going to win??? 
Believe it... Own it... Do it... GET AFTER IT! 

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Happy Thanksgiving,
Team VHC

Author: Michael Moore
Michael is a professional hockey scout and advisor with Victorious Hockey helping North America’s top hockey prospects fulfill their ultimate playing potential.

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