Jack Skille Show Episode 2: Jonathan Toews and leading by example

On episode two of the Jack Skille Show, we are joined by Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. He looks back at his own development as a player, what it takes to be a professional, and what makes a good leader.

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Show notes

  • 0:00 – Starting out in hockey and falling in love with the game.
  • 2:30 – Family background and influences.
  • 4:00 – Realizing you are good: “You always know you are somewhere at the top and you have a good chance. But even when you get drafted you never feel like there is any guarantees until you pull that sweater on and prove yourself . . . There is always another level. It can be a motivation tool as long as you have that awareness. You might be good now, but there is a point when that player will run into guys just as big and fast and skilled and they won’t know how to deal with that challenge.”
  • 9:45 – Adapting his own game and making the conscious choice to get better.
  • 14:00 – Playing smarter: “Don’t attach yourself to the wins and losses and roller coaster. Attach yourself to the process. There are different teaching moments after a win or loss. Look at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge your weaknesses.”
  • 18:30 – Leaving home as a teenager and a typical high school day for Jonathan Toews.
  • 25:00 – Choosing college vs. junior hockey.
  • 29:00 – Mindset entering the NHL draft: “There are a lot of guys that go high in the draft and go on cruise control after that. It doesn’t mean anything. It only gets more competitive after that.”
  • 36:00 – Advice for young athletes at tryouts.
  • 39:30 – Reliving the first NHL shift.
  • 43:00 – Becoming captain at age 20.
  • 45:45 – Being a professional and being a leader: “The number one leadership quality is that if you want to win and want your teammates to do something to help you win, you have to be willing to do it yourself . . . Everyone has to have some sort of selfishness as a player, but you also have to be willing to sacrifice something of your goals for team success.”
  • 50:30 – What leadership isn’t: “Most guys will talk and talk and talk and never shut up when it comes to leading. That is not what leadership is. Just do the work and let your actions speak louder. Then when you need to speak, the boys will tune in. They’ll tune you out if you just keep talking.”
  • 52:30 – Winning the first Stanley Cup.
  • 58:00 – Olympic experiences.
  • 1:00:30 – Dealing with ice time issues: “At the end of the day, let your play do the talking. If you are not happy with the current scenario, keep working on your game and keep getting better. If you are too good you can’t be denied at a certain point.”
  • 1:02:00 – Advice to young players: “Don’t be afraid of failure. Welcome that in. Seek it out. Find ways to push yourself. If you are screwing up and making mistakes you are pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. That is what hockey is all about.”