Words from The Fog – Quotes from one of hockey’s finest coaches

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23 years after his untimely passing, Fred Shero, bench boss of the Broad Street Bullies era Flyers, has at long last been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. “The Fog” has one of the greatest coaching pedigrees in NHL history, having won 390 games over 10 seasons behind the Flyers and Rangers benches (the latter with whom he spent two and a quarter seasons), along the way capturing 2 Stanley Cup championships in four Finals appearances. Shero was also very innovative, being the first coach to review film, as well as an early supporter of the morning skate, and one of the first to apply team systems. Being so innovative, Shero was also very quotable (in the times that he would break the silence and esotericism that gave him his nickname), and had many sentiments to express regarding the subjects of both hockey and life [Wait… I thought those were synonyms!]. To bring some to your attention:

The only people not under stress are dead.

People can be divided into three types: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. In which category are you?

I think hockey is a game, a child’s game, played by men and to play it effectively you must have fun just like children do. I’ve been with too many teams in sports through the years where you weren’t allowed to open your mouth, you weren’t allowed to laugh, you weren’t allowed to question the coach or anyone in authority … You lived in fear. My players don’t live in fear. They get up in the morning, they’re happy and they go to bed, they’re happy. And that’s the type of person I am.

There are no heroic tales without heroic tails.

– On the importance of hustle.

Montreal played one goal dumber than us.

– Assessing a 7-6 Flyers win over the Habs.

Success requires no explanation. Failure presents no alibis.

Win together today and we’ll walk together forever.

– Message to the Flyers players on the blackboard before Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals.

One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.

– The excerpt from English-Irish poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s book Music and Moonlight which Shero wrote on the dressing room blackboard prior to Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals.

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. For your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor.

– Advice on the best way to play hockey.

When you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken makes a contribution, the pig makes a commitment.

I don’t live in the fast lane, I live on the off ramp.

I want to be miserable, that’s what makes me happy. You can’t know joy if you don’t know sorrow. I think that if you’re happy all the time, something must be wrong with you.

Lastly, what another coach had to say about him:

Sometimes I don’t think he knows Wednesday from Thursday, and then sometimes I think he’s a genius who’s got us all fooled.

– Scotty Bowman

A transcendental thinker with a great mind for sports – Very uncommon. With all these words in mind, it’s clear that he had something else going on up in that head of his. The Dos Equis guy has nothing on Fred Shero – He was certaibly the most interesting man of his time.

You’ve waited for far too long, Fred. Welcome to the Hall.

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