“Brooksisms”

Herb Brooks, 1980

Herb Brooks, the legendary coach of the 1980 USA Men’s hockey team, or “Miracle on Ice”, was a successful coach at various levels of hockey including college, national, European league and the NHL. He led teams to national championships at the University of Minnesota three times and coached the US Hockey team to gold (1980) and silver (2002) medals at the Winter Olympics. Viewed as an innovator of the American game, he fought the “culture” of the stagnant North American game by introducing techniques of European puck possession on the offensive, while mixing in sound traditional defensive habits on the back end. Former Olympic and New York Islander defenseman Ken Morrow was quoted as saying this when asked about Herb Brooks, “Coach may have been the greatest innovator the sport has ever had. When it came to hockey, he was ahead of his time. All of his team’s overachieved because Herbie understood how to get the best out of each player and make him part of a team. And like everyone that played for him , I became a better person because I played for Herb Brooks.”

Always the motivator, sometimes in very uncommon ways, Brooks had a gift of using words and lines that got the most out of his group. Many of his now classic lines can be found all over books, movies and the internet. Below are some of my favorite expressions, or Brooksisms, as they’re now known:

Brooks, 2002 Olympics w/ Roenick & Amonte

“Legs feed the wolf”

“You’re playing worse and worse every day and right now you’re playing like it’s next month”

“Write your own book instead of reading someone else’s book about success”

“Great moments are born from great opportunities”

“This team isn’t talented enough to win on talent alone”

“As_holes and eyeballs” – describes a Herbie forecheck system

If you’re interested in learning more about Herb Brooks, I suggest giving this book a read, “Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind“. This book is a journey from Herb’s beginning to the later years of his coaching career, with the pinnacle being the story surrounding the “Miracle” that happened at Lake Placid in 1980. Plenty of colorful quotes are included and the writer, John Gilbert, gives the reader a rare inside look at the mind of the late Herb Brooks.

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