Updated: Jun 23
The passing of Guy Lafleur hits close to home.
While I was a young Captain for the Washington Capitals, my young wife, Jenn, and I had our lives rocked when we were traded to the Montreal Canadiens at the beginning of the 1982 season. The high expectations placed on me from this trade accelerated the pressure that I felt to perform for the Montreal Forum faithful. I soon found myself underperforming and looking for answers. In their wisdom, the Canadiens coaching staff paired me up with Guy Lafleur. As we travelled to play away games, Guy and I were roommates, he was the perfect mentor for the situation that I found myself in. Guy had played under pressure his whole life and he not only learned how to survive; he thrived.
Flower didn't sit me down and share the 5 ways to reduce stress and become a better professional. Actually, he didn't say much at all. Instead, he lived it and I paid attention. Guy was the consummate pro and an amazing teammate.
Guy arrived at the arena for games and practices earlier than any other player, and Flower signed more hockey cards for kids and fans than anyone else. But here is what I saw, and this was his secret sauce, he loved doing it. Guy didn't grind out signing thousands of hockey cards, licking the envelopes and placing them back in the mail bag (and he didn't hire a secretary to do this for him). Rather, with a Montreal Forum dressing-room coffee, he would sit with his Guy Lafleur smile and enjoy the process. That's what I learned from Guy; becoming a solid PRO was a learned process and a changed mindset.
Watch for more stories over the coming weeks as I share lessons learned from this amazing player and friend!
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