Jack Skille Show Episode 7: Craig Smith’s road to the pros

On Episode 7 of the Jack Skille Show we are joined by Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators. A fellow Madison native, Craig’s journey to the pros took many unique turns. He walks us through what it took to make it to the top.

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Show notes

  • 0:00 – Starting in hockey.
  • 6:30 – Playing different sports.
  • 10:00 – Developing work ethic: “If I wasn’t doing it, someone else was doing it. It comes down to accountability. I want to be ready and be as good as I can possibly be.”
  • 14:15 – Blue collar Madison upbringing and playing high school hockey.
  • 24:00 – USHL experience and knowing when to make the move to the next level: “If you are good enough, you don’t have to play 70 games a year to get exposure. You never know who is in the stands watching.”
  • 38:45 – Getting recruited to Wisconsin.
  • 42:15 – Playing at Wisconsin and experiences with coach Mike Eaves.
  • 50:30 – International experience at the 2011 World Championships.
  • 55:30 – Starting in professional hockey and first NHL game: “There is a lot of running around in college hockey, but in the pros it was almost like I was trying to do things too fast rather than controlled. Everything is more controlled in the pros.”
  • 1:03:30 – What it means to be a professional: “A professional shows up every day no matter what and does something. There are days where you are tired, but you have to find a way to do it.”
  • 1:08:30 – Advice for young players and parents on youth development: “Good things happen to good people who work hard.”