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Jim Craig's Support for Boston Marathon has been 'Heaven Sent' for Dr. Kendall Boone!

Jim Craig's Support for Boston Marathon has been 'Heaven Sent' for Dr. Kendall Boone!Jim Craig was the goalie for the 1980 Olympic hockey team that beat Russia and won the gold medal. I met Jim at a meeting to raise awareness for screening for the silent but potentially deadly disease of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This is a disease that I treat as a Vascular Surgeon in Rockford, Illinois and a disease that sadly took the life of Jim's father. Jim was the guest speaker and did an awesome job of motivating primary care physicians to do screening ultrasounds on their patients to look for AAAs. It was a very successful meeting with a very good turn out and I truly believe that future lives will be saved because of that effort. During the dinner portion of the meeting, my wife and I got the pleasure of sitting next to Jim. By the end of the dinner conversation, we had shared pictures of our families and felt like we had become good friends! One of the pictures he was flipping through on his phone was a young adult standing upright in a specialized motorized wheelchair. Jim explained that earlier that day he had been at a meeting to help get these devices approved by medical insurance. As a father of a son who is Autistic and has some severe learning disabilities, I was touched by his heart for that cause. I told Jim about my son Nils and that I was president of a board for adults with special needs called Barbara Olson Center of Hope. I asked Jim if he would ever consider coming back to Rockford to be a guest speaker for the Center. Of course, he said yes. That day came a few months ago. We packed a convention center and energized a very hockey savvy crowd with Jim’s life story. Jim generously donated signed Olympic jerseys and personalized signed pictures which netted the center over $12,000! It was one of the best highlights of the Center’s 70 years in existence!

If these gifts of Jim’s time and effort to causes near to my heart were not enough, there was more to come.

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Unique Opportunities Available If You Book Now!

Unique Opportunities Available If You Book Now!We are booking up fast for this year! When booking Jim Craig you have the opportunity to really get your team involved with special pricing on corporate gifting. Please inquire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for your chance to bring your team to the next level!

People are already talking this year!

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Jim Craig’s Last Mentor Craig Patrick

Craig PatrickThe mentor series was created so that our audience could relate to my personal stories and experiences and challenge themselves to become better mentors. To make them stop and think about the important people in their life that have contributed to any success that they have had. Most importantly, to think of what they could do in order to sacrifice for their legacy. A lot of the time when people have success, we tend to forget that we could not have accomplished anything if it was not for the sacrifices, love, and support of those around us. This month’s mentor is Craig Patrick. He is someone that I have always looked up to and was really the first person that taught me what it took to be a true professional in all spectrums of life.

Growing up in a small town south of Boston I was pretty sheltered, especially from the hockey world. My dream was to play in the Olympics and then go on to play in the NHL. I was a small town boy with a big time dream, knowing that the odds were stacked against me. I started practicing my autograph in the third grade and would tell my family that one day I would make it. I was just a kid playing pond hockey with my brothers enjoying the sport itself (people forget how important this is sometimes) and the love of the game. Believe it or not, I never knew about the Bean Pot until I was at Boston University playing in it. I never had heard of Herb Brooks or Craig Patrick. I did not take into consideration the places I would go and the people I would meet before I could come close to reaching any of my dreams. I was pushed mentally and physically in ways that I did not think was possible, by people who pulled greatness out of me and who inspired me. I can confidentially say that if I did not have the gift of Craig Patrick’s mentorship, I would not have been able to compete and be the player Herb Brooks thought I was in 1980.

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Herb Brooks Made Me A Believer

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Have you ever thought about how a split second could change everything? Life cannot be taken for granted. No one is promised tomorrow, and no one can predict the future. So, I challenge you and myself, to try to live in the present and enjoy each moment as it comes. This is not an easy task; a lot of the time it's hard to not look behind us because the past is responsible for who we are today. People come in and out of our lives for a reason. They not only influence us, but they change us. We are constantly changing, and because at times we are caught up in the past or future, we are oblivious to see how many important people are around us right now. Herb Brooks is a unique example of someone who may not be with us physically, but his presence is still felt everyday. I truly believe that if Herb had not come into my life, I would not be the person I am today. Each day his legacy inspires me, challenges me, and motivates me to become better than I was yesterday.

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It All Starts With a Dream

It All Starts With a DreamFor those of you who don’t get our emails, last month I did my mentors series on Warren Strelow. He was our goalie coach for the 1980 team and really challenged me to perform to the best of my ability. He is someone that I have always looked up to and I miss him everyday. His family recently shared this letter with me that I thought I would share. Sometimes people get afraid of asking for help or failing. But failing is not fatal, being afraid to fail is. You need to know that you have people that support you and would do anything in order for you to achieve your dreams. Don’t be intimidated by the impossibility, be motivated by the possibility and BELIEVE in yourself. Text GOLDMEDAL to 22828 to subscribe if you haven’t already!

For those of you who are having trouble reading my handwriting:
“July 9th, 1979

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Jim Craig's 1980 Mentor Warren Strelow

Jim Craig's 1980 Mentor Warren StrelowWhen you ask someone who competed as an athlete to describe a mentor, a coach is typically among the first responses. There are many different types of coaches in the world, some great and some bad, but a coach almost always leaves some kind of imprint on each athlete they work with. As a lifelong hockey player who was fortunate to achieve and play at the highest level for a period of time, I could not have reached my potential without the dedication and hard work of a number of my coaches along the way. Now, the logical jumping point right now for many readers would be to think of Herb Brooks alone as the single coach responsible for the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Of course, Herb deserves all of the credit he receives as the architect and the mastermind behind our success in 1980. But perhaps the most important principle that Herb Brooks brought to U.S.A. Hockey prior to 1980 was that it was about finding the RIGHT team, not the "best one." That obviously included all of the players whom he picked to represent our country at the Olympics, but just as integral were the coaches Herb assembled to lead us at his side. This Mentor Series will highlight someone on the coaching staff who often served as the glue to keep us together, especially myself, as we pushed ourselves towards a shared dream. This month's Mentor Series will focus on the goalie coach who helped shape me into the best goalie I could be, Warren Strelow.

When I met Warren Strelow for the first time, we almost instantly clicked because it was evident that we were both genuine students of the game. What impressed me the most about Coach Strelow was the depth of knowledge that he not only had about goaltending but also about my game as a goaltender. A pitfall for many coaches is the desire focus on molding athletes into what the coach wants them to be, rather than molding them into the best version of them that the athlete can be. Warren Strelow predicated his coaching on that notion of understanding each of his goalies' respective games and then working on drills and techniques that enhanced the best aspects of our game. Of course, that isn't to say that we only worked on what we were good at and neglected any weaknesses. The overall point, though, is that I was an athletic and instinctive goaltender by nature, so Coach Strelow used drills that helped me to be more athletic in the crease rather than to become mechanical. I became the best goaltender I could be because we worked hard to make my strengths stronger while also improving some weaknesses. I owe Warren Strelow and his coaching style an immense amount for preparing me to fight off the barrage of shots from the Soviet team enough so that our offense could win the game down at the other end.

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Jim Craig Serves As Son's Best Man

Jim Craig Serves As Son's Best ManIn 1986 I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and the love of my life, Sharlene "Charlie" Craig. I cherish that day not only because I found my soul mate but also because I had my dad standing next to me as my best man. As most of you know from the Olympics, my dad means the world to me. After we won the gold against Finland, I searched for him in the stands to share what I thought would be my greatest accomplishment. Little did I know that becoming a husband and father would be life's greatest gifts.

To this day my father remains the man I love and respect above all other men. In my high school yearbook at Oliver Ames High School, Class of 1975, my life's ambition reads - "To be half the man my father is."

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Creating a Legacy for the Next Generation

Creating a Legacy for the Next GenerationIn my humble opinion, the legacy that you leave behind determines the way in which you choose to live your life. Professionally or personally you should be setting an example and a standard for the next generation. You want to create a legacy that inspires, motivates, and drives the youth to be the best they possibly can be. This is not an easy task, especially with the world growing and constantly changing around us. However, it is our responsibility to pave the way for those after us. In the words of Herb Brooks, “We must pay a price, get back to the basics – accept new challenges. America was not built on a timid outlook but a bold resolve to see ourselves not where we are… but where we can go – what we can become”. Herb Brooks dedicated his life to USA hockey and even after his death he is still inspiring today’s youth players. The Herb Brooks Foundation is dedicated to growing the game of hockey and giving kids a positive hockey experience and an opportunity to learn life lessons through the game.

Most of the time people do not realize when they are making a huge impact on those around them and those who will come after. Herb was a great example of this; because of his leadership, hard work, and belief we were able to accomplish what was thought to be the impossible in 1980. Recently, at the start of the World Cup Hockey Tournament, there were numerous interviews with today’s generation of top USA hockey players. It was asked again and again why winning the World Cup of Hockey meant so much to them. Each player responded differently but all answered that the 1996 USA World Cup team inspired them when they were just boys. To them the 1996 team was made of players that they idolized and one day wanted to be. Comparably, the 1996 team answered similar about our 1980 team when they were asked what inspired them at their World Cup. ESPN stated, “The 1980 Miracle on Ice team started a renaissance of USA hockey.” Now if you asked us in 1980 if we had any idea that we were setting the standard for USA hockey we all would have answered no. We were not aware that we would leave a legacy that would motivate and inspire generations of men and women hockey players still today. That’s the beauty of leaving a legacy, you may never know when or how you have inspired someone. You owe it to yourself to lead by example, to challenge yourself, and to be the best you can possibly be today but then even better tomorrow.

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Mentor Series: Sharlene Craig

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In business, the quest for success is often described as an individual endeavor. While success absolutely requires self-motivation, hard work, and relentless determination, there are almost always unsung heroes behind the scenes that truly enable someone to achieve their goals. These heroes are the spouses and family members who make immense personal sacrifices in order to help you succeed, yet rarely ever receive any recognition for their key role in the success. I speak often about the importance of building a great team and how strong teamwork is the key to achieving your dreams. Even in the individualized world of business, teamwork is required within a relationship and family in order to perform at an optimum level. Therefore, a successful team starts at home. My story is no different, and I certainly embody the old saying, “behind every successful man is a great woman.” This edition of the Mentor Series is dedicated to an amazing teammate and the person whose strength and support has allowed me to get to where I am today: My wife Sharlene “Charlie” Craig.

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Jim Craig reflects on the "Miracle on Ice"

Jim Craig reflects on the 'Miracle on Ice'"At the Winter Olympics in upstate New York in February 1980, a motley band of American ice hockey players, on their path to the gold medal, upset the powerful Soviet team. The most lasting image of the games was goalie Jim Craig draped in the American flag, and the Stars and Stripes began to come out across the country. The sports columnist Pete Axthelm interviewed a woman who 'hadn't seen so many flags since the 1960s. When we were burning them.'"

From the story, "Seasons Of The Flag: After years of ups and downs, Old Glory has just made its greatest comeback," by Stuart Lutz, in the February/March 2002 issue of American Heritage magazine, the issue released in the wake of patriotic 9/11 and patriotic renewal

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Mentor Series: Jim Widmann

Mentor Series: Jim WildmannI make it my mission in life to say thank you and express gratitude to those who have mentored and helped me succeed - as a person, in my business career, and as an athlete. No one truly succeeds alone, and I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to learn from so many excellent mentors along the way.

The key to mentorship is double-sided: The mentor has to be fueled by a desire to give back and to impart their knowledge to others while the mentee needs to be coachable, above all else. My definition of "coachable" focuses on demonstrating a commitment to listening, a willingness to practice new techniques and lessons, and an unrelenting desire to improve. Many times, coachability is not an inherent trait, but instead one that needs to be learned through experience and effort. It takes a willingness to check your ego at the door and to accept that there is always more to learn. Ultimately, if you are willing to make the sacrifices to be coachable, you will often be rewarded with the most valuable lessons that can fuel success in all aspects of life.

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Professional Sports Franchise in Las Vegas Becoming a Reality

Professional Sports Franchise in Las Vegas Becoming a Reality

Las Vegas is not only the unofficial entertainment “capital” of the United States, but is known worldwide for being a hub for the biggest names in business, gaming, entertainment, and much more. Professional sports also have a foothold in Las Vegas, though much of the sports presence revolves around Mixed Martial Arts, boxing, and NASCAR. You’d think that Las Vegas would be a great place for sports teams within the “4 Major Sports” to call home, but that has never been the case up to this point… Let’s take a look at a few reasons why that is the case.

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Ultimate SAAAVE - Important & Vital Work

Ultimate SAAAVE - Important & Vital WorkI am fortunate to work as a spokesperson for Gore Medical and its Ultimate SAAAVE, a campaign to encourage those at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) to be screened for the condition. My father died from a ruptured AAA. If an AAA is detected in a screening, it can be repaired through a non-invasive procedure.

Earlier this spring, I was in Peoria, Illinois to participate in a free AAA screening clinic at the OSF Healthcare Vascular Institute – with the institute, along with Gore, also co-sponsoring the event. While in Peoria for the screening clinic, it was my privilege to meet and talk with U.S. Army Cpl. Matt Egan, who recently completed four years of active duty with the 173rd Airborne Combat Brigade – nicknamed The Sky Soldiers.

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Mentor Series: Gary Linehan & Dave Cleary

Mentor SeriesMY HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY COACHES - TWO VALUABLE MENTORS AND TWO WONDERFUL FRIENDS. I OWE A LOT TO DAVE CLEARY AND GERRY LINEHAN

If you talk to almost any successful adult, you will find that he or she has had at least one important mentor from high school that has played an important and positive role in their emotional, moral, and cultural development that has led them to be the person they are today.

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Mentor Series: Ben Smith

BenSmithNews_HeaderIt's funny. When Ben Smith discovered that I wanted to include him in my series of mentors who have most influenced and improved my life, he was a bit surprised. He maintains that, while he and I have long been good friends, and he knows that I think highly of him, he had not considered himself much of mentor to me. A reason that Ben didn't think of himself as mentoring me is that the help and opportunities he provided me were as a matter of course in giving back to hockey - and, more precisely, in one case, building a winning hockey team.

Benjamin Smith III is the son of U.S. Senator Benjamin Smith II. The younger Smith grew up in the Massachusetts seaside town of Gloucester. Ben Smith III is a storied and iconic figure in U.S. national hockey. A standout defenseman at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1968, Ben went on to coach in college, then high school, and then again in the college ranks - before coaching U.S. teams in the Olympics.

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Secrets of a Great Winning Team

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The foundation of a fulfilling life, of a life of purpose and meaning, is honest work that one enjoys, and which one knows is important.

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Mentor Series: Neil Higgins

NeilHigginsNews_HeaderMy senior year in high school, I was hopeful that I could play major college hockey. My stats ranked among the best prep goaltenders in Massachusetts.

Our team, Oliver Ames High School, won every game but one during the regular season, and in the state tournament we lost by one goal to the eventual state champions.

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Jon Luther - Mentor Series

b2ap3_thumbnail_JonLutherNews_Header.jpgAmong the nine traits of great teams – traits that I call Gold Medal Strategies – that I speak and present on, that I write about, is Great Teams Are the Product of Picking the Right Players.

Is a trait that almost all great teams hold – whether a sports team or company, or other type of organization.

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Teamwork & Culture Keynote - Lime Energy's Management Team

WinningTeamwork_BusinessTraining "Jim spoke to Lime Energy’s Management Team during our integration of two industry-leading companies. He spent time researching our situation which made his presentation very relevant, and he did a fantastic job of relating his athletic and business successes to Lime’s mission.

Jim’s keynote message on teamwork and culture resonated with every participant at the meeting. His surprise meet and greet appearance following a screening of Miracle was moving, and he spent time one on one with many members of the Lime team. Jim exceeded our expectations and left us with several mementos which will ensure that his message stays with us, including signed jerseys that remind us we all play for the same team!

The 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team’s story is full of valuable insight which informs strategies for business success. Jim has already applied these lessons in the corporate world. I highly recommend demonstrating your commitment to your team, by including Jim’s presence and wisdom in your next corporate event!"

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The Art of Sport with Jim Craig

Enjoyed being interviewed by Yankee magazine’s Kristina M. Dodge. Posted with permission of New York Yankees Partnership. ©Yankees Magazine.

All rights reserved.

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