"You have to have enthusiasm and a love of this game to play. You must keep interested and not get distracted. I can't understand a player who isn't enthusiastic. If you're not enthusiastic, you've got no business out on the ice."
The man who said that was a fellow named Vic Stasiuk. Enthusiasm, not to mention hard work and dedication, were trademarks of Stasiuk, both as a player and a coach.
Like most farm boys from Alberta, Stasiuk was never afraid of hard work. But he learned an early lesson about love of the game from a one-armed rink attendant.
"Before we were in our teens, we were on skates playing hockey against anyone who'd play us," Stasiuk recalled in the February 1970 issue of Hockey Pictorial magazine. "I remember Bill Hutchinson, a one-armed man who used to be the rink attendant at an outdoor rink we used to play on in Lethbridge. He was a lot older than we were, but he loved hockey and he'd get out there and play against us. Now that I'm older I realize just what love of the game this man had, and how his example really helped me in my own career. Without two arms for balance, hockey is really tough, and there he was, up against a lot of youngsters, just for the love of it. It was a lesson for all of us."
You can read the full Vic Stasiuk biography here.
Enthusiasm is one of those intangibles in hockey. If you have it for an extended period of time, you and your team will likely be assured of strong performances and success.
Stasiuk's comment that opens this piece is so true, and not only on the ice but in all walks of life. Just ask Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
So weather you choose to listen to an old, prairie town hockey player or the great American philosopher, try incorporating as much enthusiasm as you can into your work and into your play this week. You will be amazed just how contagious it is.