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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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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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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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Mentor Series: My Biggest Break

b2ap3_thumbnail_Aug01News_Header.jpgJack Parker gave me one of the biggest breaks of my life. It just might be my biggest break.

It was in the spring of 1976, and Jack had just finished his third year as coach of the Boston University men's hockey team, for which he had standout career as a player. It was his actually his seventh year behind the bench for the Terriers, as from 1969 through 1973 he had been the program's assistant coach.

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Jim Craig Recent Testimonial...National Sales Meeting

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"Jimmy recently spoke at our 2015 National Sales Meeting and was the hit of the show! He spent a great deal of time researching our organization and really hit home in speaking to the unique challenges we have been facing as an organization. His themes on "teamwork" and "winning as an underdog with a shared dream" were truly impactful and inspirational. Jimmy was gracious with his time and a real pleasure to work with. If you are looking for a motivational speaker to help rally the troops, Jimmy would be a great choice!"

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Mentor Series: Dan Pratt and Paul Haley

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It was the summer of 1984, and I had just retired from hockey. I was playing in a celebrity charity golf tournament at the Connecticut Golf Club in Easton, CT.

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Mentor Series: Charles Kelly

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Charles Kelly has done far more than talk the talk … for he has surely walked the walk … every step.

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35th Anniversary Store Special!

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Get an 8x10 Olympic photo from 1980 in honor of the 35th Anniversary of the 1980 Olympics!

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Great Mentor: George "Doc" Nagobads

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If you watch TV footage of the celebration on the ice after Team USA beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, you might see a smiling man with white hair give me a big hug.

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Victory - The One and Only End Game

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As I travel around the country, speaking and addressing companies and other types of organizations, a major focus of my speeches and talks is what I call the “Gold Medal Strategies” that are the hallmark and conduct of great teams.

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What Are People Saying About Jim Craig?

"Your presentation was. excellent, you were able to reach out and touch every member of our group. It was informative, heartfelt, and inspirational. The attendees are still talking about it. Jim, it was a pleasure working with you.”

Vice President Sales, First Incentive Travel

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You’re Not Competing with Your Competition

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It’s All About the Kids

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The memory of my teammate Bobby Suter never dies – as Bob always said “Its all about the kids.” Jim Craig.

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Jim Craig to Attend Event at the Rochester Institute of Technology

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"Jim Craig, the “Miracle on Ice” goalie, will visit Rochester Institute of Technology as part of a fund-raiser for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund.

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Not Necessarily the Best Players—But the Right Ones

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Here is a segment, titled, “Not Necessarily the Best Players – But the Right Ones,” from Chapter 5 of Gold Medal Strategies:

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Great Teams are the Product of Picking the Right Players

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In any organization – whether it is athletic team, company, public service board, school administration, military unit … or any other type of group – the people within that organization are its most important and valuable resource.

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