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Catalog Number 2015.5.13
Object Name Video
Title Paul Coffey
Scope & Content 24:49Paul Coffey. Like any young Canadian boy, a lot of guys play hockey whether it be on the ice or road hockey. Liked sports in general, he also played lacrosse, baseball, soccer, hockey. Didn't really know quite what he wanted to do. Thought about being a fireman or a police officer, but liked the sport and it turned out pretty good.
25:27Big challenges, his challenge, like all other players is the fear of failure. Motivated him every single year. Whether was ten year pro, in NHL, or ten or twelve years old playing in Greater Toronto Hockey League always had to make the team. Gave inspiration and motivation to not let foot off the gas.
26:10Any athlete will tell you if they have no anxiety or nervousness, they are not going to be ready. Used to laugh because their coach and mentor Glen Sather used to walk into every training camp and give the speech that every job is open. Would look at Wayne Gretzky and say better get going because your job is up. He instilled in them at an early age that you better be ready to go. It's very important and keeps you going every year. Anytime there's young guys at your heels that want your job, you have to keep moving and keep getting better.
27:14Lucky enough to do a few things individually, score goals and get points, but none of that holds anything to the championships. Winning Stanley Cups and Canada Cups thats what it's all about. Any player will say if you're lucky enough to be inducted to a Sports Hall of Fame it's the championships that you talk about.
27:53Stanley Cup and Canada Cup are the same but different. Stanley Cups take a long time, might be a season, might be 3 seasons before team learns how to win. Canada Cup is done in a 3 week training camp. Any time you get a chance to put on that Canadian flag, Canadian jersey, it's pretty special. You realize you have 3 weeks to make your entire country proud. You've got 20-24 guys that have to bond and be a team in a short period of time. Equally as gratifying, but different but it's a short period of time. The pride of putting the Canada jersey on and hoisting the Canada Cup is pretty great.
28:49Most proud of the Championships, longevity, if able to play 20 years it means at some point you were a good pro, you didn't take advantage of the game. The game has a way of humbling you pretty early if you take shortcuts. He prided himself on working hard on and off the ice, being the best player he could be every time he walked into the dressing room, being a leader being a teacher, helping the young guys.
29:37Had to do conditioning to stay in shape. How to stay in shape is don't get out of shape. Today's athlete is in shape 12 months a year due to the rigorous demands of the sport. Used to not have to do that, still kept up in good shape. When won Stanley Cup in Edmonton he took a week off and then got back into it. Most players did that back then, but it wasn't as structured as it is now. Biggest asset was his speed and skating, tried to keep legs strong at all times.
30:35Used to wear skates 2 sizes smaller than shoes. Not true that had to cut laces off after a game. Was a high risk player, wanted skates to move left and right, didn't want them wobbly. In that era skates weren't like they are today, they were pretty flimsy.
31:30Was playing with 2 of the greatest players ever. Wayne Gretzky was easy to follow in line playing with him, he worked as hard as anybody who has ever played the game, wanted to win, wanted to score, not just himself but wanted his team to score.
Going to Pittsburg seeing Mario Lemieux in the Canada Cup, and watching how Gretzky worked and playing on his wing, and playing every shift, and coming to the rink ready to play.
If playing with great players, you have to play great. The team all pushed each other. Pittsburg wasn't a team that was supposed to win but did.
32:53(1987 Canada Cup) Most memorable moment was seeing a group of guys that bonded in a few weeks. The Russian's were phenomenal, but Canada was also phenomenal. Had Gretzky as #1 centre, had Messier as #2 centre. Mario Lemieux had to play the wing. Also had Dale Hawerchuk, Brent Sutter, Rick Tocchet, Doug Gilmour. They accepted roles as 3rd or 4th line guys, helped the team along. Great to see everyone pitch in as a team and strive for the common goal, which was to win the championship for the country.
34:06Trust coach and listen to coach, If that coach is not the coach for you then at the end of the season move on. During the year you have to have everyone going in the right direction. Get a chance to go into dressing rooms all the time and try to leave that message of listen to your coach. Also first question he asks the kids is 'What's the most important thing?', and they say have fun. He disagrees but agrees with that. Hockey is all about work, and if you work hard the game becomes fun. Every time you're on that ice make sure you're working your best, listening to the coach and not fooling around.
35:13Charities are very important. There is an Easter Seals event in November, and have surpassed fundraising every year. It's all the former athletes, people are always thanking them but they're not doing anything, they're attending it's the volunteers and the people who buy the tables, those are the real important people. The chance to give back is what it's about. That's what's special about athletes.
36:17Have to really buy into the team. At the younger level will go up to kids and ask their positions and the kids won't be willing to play a different position. They can't be like that, the coach wants to make them the most comfortable but to Paul it's about getting the ice time anyway you can. Paul coached a group of kids in 1998 who later went on to be drafted by the OHL, and he moved their positions around all the time. Since then they've thanked him because now they can play any position. Biggest thing is to be receptive, part of the team, a good teammate, and a hard worker.
37:24Values. Be on time, it's the most important. Put the team ahead of yourself, be a good teammate. Lead by example. The game has a way of getting even with you. If you don't have good values and work ethics and good teammate skills then you won't last long.
38:06(On being inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame). It's a great honour, when he got the call. It was like wow. He didn't expect it. He knew his time was coming up, but this came right out of nowhere. He explained it to his two sons and daughter at home what a huge honour it is , not only to be a hockey player going into the Hockey Hall Of Fame, but going as a Canadian athlete with all these other great athletes into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Get to look back and know all the things you did in your career, whether it was as a pro, a teenager, or a kid, that it was worth it in the end.
39:03When 15-16 years old, realized that he was a pretty decent player. Could skate, could move the puck. Knew that at that point going into a time of life where there is going to be a lot of distractions. Tells his 12 and 17 year old, if this is the path you're going to choose, you have to stay focused. If you get to a point where you're 19 or 20, and it doesn't work out that's okay, but don't let any distractions get in your way.
40:09Dad was very influential, very confidence driven. Mom was a tough little Irish lady, toughest one in the house. Dad was always very accommodating. Said to him once, when he was 12 years old and his dad was driving him home from the rink, that if he ever saw Paul give that kind of effort again he wouldn't take him to the rink. Only had to say it to him once. Dad was the type of guy that would take his kids everywhere as long as they were willing to work. Loved the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dave Keon. Had a coach when 9 years old, played A at the time. Bob Williams. Was always the centre man, and Bob Williams put him back on defense because he could skate. Wasn't overly happy about it. He was whimpering in the car on the way home and his dad asked how many forwards were on the team and Coffey said 9, and then his dad asked how many defensemen on the team and Coffey said 4, and his dad said sounds like you'll get more ice time give it a chance. Instead of having your kid play one thing look at the big picture. So he gave it a chance and loved it. Turning pro loved the game, studied the game. The 1981 Canada Cup didn't make the team, but went to training camp and saw Larry Robinson, started following him around and watching everything he did. Finally had a conversation with him at a racetrack in Montreal. Coffey was 19, Robinson was 29 or 30. Asked how he still played the game at that age. Robinson said take care of your body, and your body will take care of you, but don't start at age 30, start now. He remembered that his whole career.

Year Range from 1973
Year Range to 2015
Subjects 1981 Canada Cup, 1987 Canada Cup, 1984 Stanley Cup, 1985 Stanley Cup, 1987 Stanley Cup
Search Terms challenge, pride, humility, hard work, teamwork, team player, adaptability, work ethic