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Behind the Bench, September 30th Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020  
By: Michael Moore,

Well we have a Champion! We also have the conclusion of the weirdest NHL season ever (and the second weirdest likely to begin sometime in Decembuary). Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning!

We always see the raising of the cup, the commissioner being booed, the Conn Smythe being awarded and the obligatory team photo but what doesn't always make the front page is the opposing locker room. I find that odd because more of us can relate to that locker room than that of the champions. The champions themselves (more likely than not) have throughout their careers sat with the runner-ups a time or two on their way to the cup. It is not an easy place. It is sad. It is a great deal of energy and hope recently evicted. It is quiet and still. There is so much emotion when you work so hard but wind up with nothing. It would be understandable and even almost forgivable to lose one's cool. It is surprising that we don't see it in hockey more. I have seen it (players losing it after defeat) in other sports but I am proud that in hockey it is not commonplace.

I watched Anton Khudobin's post-game and his heartbreak was palpable. Yet, he maintained so much composure. He credited his teammates and their teamwork. Always, "us" and "we, never "Me" or "I". He talked about how they all worked together. He spoke of his respect for his opponents. It was not an easy interview but Anton spoke with dignity and distinction. 

That is character. We at Victorious talk about how important character is all the time. Character is no more critical as it is in defeat. It is easy to have poise in victory it is much more difficult when you lose. There will always be defeat in the journey so begin refining and keep refining your poise and character as soon as you can. It is the one skill you will always need in both hockey and in life.

By Harvey Mackay

Grace under pressure—what an important attribute for anyone aspiring to be in a leadership role. I was researching the topic when I came across a simple five-question test developed by psychologist Donald A. Laird to measure a person's leadership potential:

         •        Can you take a reprimand without blowing up?
         •        Can you take a turndown without becoming discouraged?
         •        Can you laugh with others when the joke is on you?
         •        Can you keep your spirits up when things go wrong?
         •        Can you keep cool in emergencies?

If your answer is yes to all five questions, you're on your way to being a leader. Dr. Laird, however, singled out one great quality of a leader—poise.

"Poise is what makes you a master of situations,"

Dr. Laird said. "Although we call some persons natural-born leaders, usually the poise of leadership is a trait that has to be developed, and anyone can develop poise a little bit at a time."

The way to develop poise, he says, is to destroy its enemies—nervousness, anger and the habit of speaking before thinking.

It's easy to show poise when everything is going well. It's a lot tougher to maintain your poise when things are not going well. But the minute you lose your composure, the chances of defeat increase.

You are giving the mental edge to your opponent. If you maintain your composure, good things can happen. Focus on what you can do or control.

Forget the past.

Look at pro football quarterbacks. The great ones, like Peyton Manning, don't ever lose their cool, even when they're behind with two minutes to go. They just keep their poise and often lead their team to victory.

Terry Bradshaw, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and now at TV analyst, said: "Quite often, the mark of an experienced quarterback—one who has poise—is the amount of time he holds on to the ball before releasing it. The quarterback who can be patient enough for lanes to open and receivers to clear will be more successful. I played a long time before I had poise, and I suffered for it, and so did my team."

It's similar for other professions.

President Ronald Reagan said: "I have learned that one of the most important rules in politics is poise—which means looking like an owl after you have behaved like a jackass."

Many of us live and work in hectic and pressure-ridden environments, so it's wise to remember the words of the psychiatrist who said to his assistant who was trying to answer two telephones at once.

"Miss Smith," he said, "just say we're terribly busy—not 'It's a madhouse here.'"

There's a story that circulates in the sales profession about a sales rep who was ready to demonstrate his company's state-of-the-art computer software to a group of important customers, when the screen went blurry and finally crashed. His efforts to re-establish a link to the office systems failed. He called tech support and every number he had available, but without luck.

Unfazed, he turned to his customers and said, "This has been a demonstration of our competitor's product. Next week, I'll show you what ours can do."

Now that's poise under pressure.

Travis Graham, the class valedictorian of the University of Tennessee Law School, promised to take only two minutes of the audience's time and he got to the heart of his thinking right away.

He began his remarks by acknowledging that he had had difficulty deciding what "wisdom" to impart to his fellow graduates. He said he had reviewed all the cases of law the class had studied and had found nothing that he felt was appropriate to such an important occasion.

At a loss for any inspiring thoughts, Travis sat at his kitchen table eating a student's breakfast of biscuits made from packaged dough. And there, right in front of him on the opened roll of refrigerated  biscuit dough, he spotted the belief that he knew he and his fellow graduates had in common and that he felt was worthy of the occasion. The package, he said, had this message, "Keep cool. But do not freeze."

And with that he thanked all assembled and returned to his seat, amid rousing applause.

Mackay's Moral: The hotter things get, the more important it is to keep your cool.


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Author: Michael Moore from
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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