The 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.
Craig Patrick is one of the hockey’s brightest minds, coming from an impressive hockey lineage. He is the son of Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick and the grandson of hockey legend Lester Patrick. In addition, his uncle, cousin, and brother played professionally. What I admire most about Craig is how humble he is, and that even though he comes from this renowned hockey family, he would never be the one to tell you. He is known throughout the hockey community on his own merit and has only grown and strengthened the Patrick legacy.
When I met Craig, he was everything that I hoped to one day be. He was a true professional and was someone that our team looked up to. Herb Brooks made it clear that he would not be our friend when preparing for the 1980 Olympics. If we needed a friend or someone to talk to Craig Patrick would be the one to fill that role. Both Craig and Herb knew that the team we started out with was full of unsettled rivalries and individual goals. Herb’s hope was that Craig would be the buffer between him and our team and that we would start to come together eventually. Craig Patrick was even more like a player coach that we could relate to with out any pressure. Whenever I had the opportunity I would ask Craig questions about his experience and about what it took to be the best of the best. Craig not only took the time to explain to me, but also showed me what moves to expect at the next level. We would work on my weaknesses and stay on the ice after practice as often as we could. He was a mentor who invested in my development when he did not have to.
Above all, Craig taught me what it took to be a great listener. He made sure that his door was always open and that no question was a dumb question. Craig Patrick was the sounding board for our team and still continues to be someone I look up to today. He is a one of a kind guy who would do just about anything for you and not expect one thing in return. He taught me that being a great listener is how you become a lifetime learner. In my business book, Gold Medal Strategies, I emphasize how important it is to stay young in spirit and outlook. In order to do this, you have to constantly be changing and learning new and better ways of doing things. In my opinion, I believe that your legacy is the important entity that one can possess and it will be carried on from generation to generation within your family. Sometimes you have to choose the harder right over the easier wrong in order to sacrifice for your legacy and that of those who came before you. Craig Patrick is someone that has set the bar so high and continues to create a legacy that will inspire generations to come.