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3 Lessons in Entrepreneurship From a Stanley Cup Champion

3 Lessons in Entrepreneurship From a Stanley Cup Champion
Image credit: Bret Hedican | Facebook
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Stanley Cup champion and 17-year NHL veteran Bret Hedican has combined his passion for sports, business, technology and fashion into two different ventures.

Related: 10 Things Exceptionally Productive Entrepreneurs Do Every Day

The first is RosterBot, an app dedicated to organizing team sports and recreational activities. Rosterbot automatically synchronizes practices and games with a user’s calendar, lets parents chat internally to coordinate carpooling and helps team managers handle invoicing and booking. “We take the work out of play,” the 44-year-old Hedican says of his involvement with the company since 2010.

Hedican’s second love is his business partnership with wife and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, who in 2012 created the women’s active wear line Tsu.ya Brand. Part of the lifestyle company's mission is to support early childhood literacy.

As if two businesses and the business of raising two daughters with Kristi weren't enough, Hedican also serves as a radio color commentator for Comcast SportsNet California (San Jose Sharks) and a part-time analyst with NBC Sports for its Inside the Glass specials during the NHL playoffs.

So lessons in time management are important to Hedican. But the St. Paul, Minnesota, native says that in his past five years as an entrepreneur, he's learned other, overlapping lessons from the boardroom and the ice rink . Below are three examples he gives. 

1. Keep it simple.

During his hockey career, Hedican says he learned that the simpler the game plan for beating an opponent, the better the end result. This is a mentality and practice he says he is implementing with RosterBot and his Tsu.ya brand. “How can we make this simple for everybody to understand?” Hedican says about running both entities. “How can we make sure that each player on the team is driving towards the things that they’re great at?”

The athlete-businessman stresses the importance of finding each team member’s strengths and putting those players into positions that enable them to reach their full potential. At the same time, Hedican says, he continuously encourages his staff to discover new skill sets and ways to impact the two organizations. 

Sometimes in business, less is more, he points out. By not over-complicating the game plan, your team will have a clearer understanding of business objectives, meaning how everyone fits into the company’s mold, and how each person can positively impact the bottom line.

2. Visualization is key.

As an NHL player, Hedican regularly worked with a sports psychologist to take control of his mental thoughts, both on and off the ice. He says that the exercises he learned back then for channelling his inner beliefs allowed him to maximize his playing potential. “Every player is going to have up days and down days," Hedican says today. "You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s how you manage it internally. 

"How do you recover from a mistake? Or even, how can you stay level-headed when you do something great?”

Small business owners and entrepreneurs similarly encounter stressful situations and bumps along the road, especially when they're starting a new venture -- those stresses are inevitable, Hedican says. Yet, how they respond to adversity, naysayers and the challenges of hanging their own shingle, he adds, makes the difference between moving the needle with their respective companies, or not.

Related: The Extraordinary Power of Visualizing Success

3. Every day is a day to get better.

“People think that being a pro athlete is easy," Hedican says. "I've got news for you: There wasn’t one day that went by that was easy."

The same goes for business and being an entrepreneur, he says. Every day is an uphill battle in the effort to sell a new and foreign product in the marketplace. Hedican admits he doesn’t have all of the answers when it comes to managing RosterBot and Tsu.ya Brand and how to strategically grow in 2015. However, by surrounding himself with a dedicated team, he says he's found that together they can work in unison toward a common goal.  

“The correlation between hockey and business is that every day is a day to get better. Period," Hedican says. "The guys who were champions and the guys I played with were those types of people. . .

"Now, I’m trying to do that in business.” 

Related: 5 Steps for Building a Great Startup Team