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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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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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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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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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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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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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Continued Energy Leads To Organized Teams

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I love speaking to businesses who want to go places. I had the pleasure of speaking to deView Electronics recently. Customized presentations that look at the inner workings of your business create enormous value to your business. Changing the way your employees think about success can change the entire culture of your organization. It takes energy, hard work, and...a great team. See the testimonial below from my friends at deView Electronics:

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