What Makes A Great Hockey Leader?



It’s a word that gets thrown around and mentioned all the time.

Real leadership is hard to come by and tough to find. But when you do, it’s honestly one of the most amazing things to witness.

It’s probably one of the most common adjectives used in interviews. We’ve all either heard it, or been asked the question, what are some of your best qualities?

I ask my players from time to time what type of qualities they think they have and what they bring to the table. I ask them about it from a hockey standpoint and also from a ‘what type of human being are you’ standpoint.

I commonly get the answer that they are a leader, or they want to become a leader.

I usually follow up that question with a few more, such as: what does being a leader mean to you? and do you know what it means to lead and are you prepared for that amount of work?

Now, I usually get the same response from players that all say that they are indeed ready to take on the workload of being a leader… Talk is one thing, but actions always speak louder.

This isn’t to take anything away from these players as the intention is there. And I respect that they think they want to take that next step.

But real leaders don’t need to think about it, that’s just how they live their lives.  

Leadership can be taught and learned over time but I am a firm believer that leadership is something inside a person that either stays buried, or after time, training, sacrifice, and knowledge decides to show itself.

Everyone has the ability to become a leader, but few will take the necessary steps to actually become a great leader.

So do you think you have what it takes to be a leader?

Accountability, commitment, motivation, understanding, experience, vision, and an unrelenting work ethic are a few of the major characteristics that I believe all great leaders have.

Having a few of those characteristics is great, but real great leaders have nearly all of them.

You may have noticed that I didn’t list talent as a necessary quality to becoming a great leader.

Real leaders are those guys who refuse to miss a workout in the off season, or never skip a rep during the season because they don’t want to let themselves or the team down.

Real leaders push those around them to be better.

Real leaders stay the course when things get tough and push themselves and the rest of the team through those dark moments.

Real leaders are able to put petty issues behind them and unite a group towards a common goal or vision.

Real leaders are those guys that lay it all on the line everyday no matter what. Practice, game, sick, healthy, tired, or weak… they will be relentless in their pursuit of being the best.

Real leaders are those guys that instill confidence in their teammates by just being there.

Plain and simple, real leaders just do the right things. They always look out for others and keep the team and its needs in mind.

Being a real leader is one of the hardest things you can ever learn. It will take you stepping out of your comfort zone and completely committing to something bigger than yourself.

Do you have what it takes?