There are no short cuts on the path of mastery and those that carve a path – that has yet be carved – have much to teach us about pushing the accepted norms of what most people think is possible. Pat LaFontaine has done both.

He’s considered one of (if not the) best American hockey player to play in the NHL, in a time when American born players were not heralded as being “one of the best.” One of the many gifts he has provided the next generation was to look beyond the horizon and believe (by training craft, mind, and body) that there was more to experience. He’s done this through hockey, service, charity, and intimate relationships.

Pat LaFontaine grew up in Waterford, Mich., loving the game of hockey. He embarked on what would prove to be a very successful 15-year NHL career by signing with the New York Islanders. LaFontaine would go on to play eight seasons with the Islanders, followed by six seasons with Buffalo, where he captained the team from 1992-97. His best year came in 1993 when he scored a career best 148 points. LaFontaine then finished his career with the New York Rangers in 1998.

Remarkably, LaFontaine scored at least 40 goals in six consecutive seasons in the NHL. Reaching the 1,000 point plateau in his final season, LaFontaine finished with 1,013 points and 468 goals. He also played in five NHL All-Star games.

Among LaFontaine’s many awards and honors, he was named the Dodge/NHL Performer of the Year in 1990; was awarded the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1995 for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey; received the USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award in 1993; and was given the Patriot Award by the Congressional medal of Honor Society in 2000 in recognition of his contribution to military morale throughout his career.

NHL, Olympic Games, Congressional honors, service to kids, great wine, being a great spouse and father, investing in mental and physical talent, concussion syndrome, giving to the next generation. Brilliance.

Keep carving your own path, helping others to do the same.

(Part 1 can be found here)

“When you think the problem is out there, that is the start of the problem because the last person we want to look at is ourselves.”


In This Episode

  • 4 ways you can change people
  • Working from the inside-out
  • Being aware of your thoughts
  • Having a deep passion for what you do
  • Understanding the right time to challenge kids
  • Finding harmony in life
  • How his concussions turned into a positive for others
  • The concept of each person having their own “time-machine”
  • Companions in Courage
  • Keeping perspective on what matters in life
  • A hat-trick of passion in a bottle



“There are 4 ways you can change people: love them, support & care for them, be a good example, and be patient.”

“Work from the inside-out, not the outside-in. If you think the outside is going to change the inside, you’ll never find it. But if you work from your inside, and realize that’s where the important is, the outside doesn’t become as meaningful.”

On coaching: “Don’t break him down if you don’t know how to build him up.”

“When your time machine goes off, that’s when you look in the mirror and say ‘ok, enough, what’s my purpose?’ When you do get there, some might be 70, some might be 26, but when you get there you get some clarity and your purpose in life.”

“We’re all caught up in daily melodrama of a lot of stuff that really doesn’t matter. Your experiences can either teach you or define you. How you choose to deal with them ultimately becomes who you are.”

“If you are going to be successful in life, you have to have the same principles across anything you do: respect, commitment, loyalty, trust. If you don’t have that as your thread, I’m not sure how you sustain success.”


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Pat LaFontaine is an American former ice hockey center in the National Hockey League who spent his entire career playing for the league's New York State-based teams.