Going the extra mile with NY Ranger legend Ron Greschner

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There are only a few more weeks left in the 2014-15 hockey season, and you can be sure legendary defenseman Ron Greschner has been enjoying watching his beloved NY Rangers this year who just became the first this season to clinch a playoff berth.

What made Ron the legend he became?  Going the extra mile.  This week, I am pleased to share with you the insight and wisdom of Ron Greschner.

Ron Greschner had a love of hockey from an early age.  If you have found what you love, and want to take it to the next level, you are going to have to go the extra mile to achieve your dreams.  That is what Ron did.  Coming from a very small town of only 150 people, he had to work extra hard to get noticed.

Ron Greschner played 16 years with the New York Rangers as a defenseman and a leader. Ron played 982 games with the Rangers, and scored 179 goals, 431 assists, and 610 points. He is without a doubt one of the brightest and most likeable stars in NHL history.  And his popularity has not waned since his retirement in 1990.  Ron will be one of the stars on this year’s NY Rangers Legends Cruise in July.

“Gresch,” as he is fondly called by friends and fans, told me:

“To get into the NHL takes a certain amount of natural ability, but then it comes down to how much you really want it. I was the 32nd overall player selected by the Rangers in 1974.”

“The hardest thing about the NHL is staying in the NHL; you have to prove yourself every day, every month, and every year.”

“Every game I ever played I was nervous—not scared. I had to play and perform each time I was on the ice. I loved the game; I didn’t want to screw up.”

“I had tunnel vision and stayed focused on each shift. To prepare, I always studied film of the guys I was facing, and it gave me a competitive edge.”

“Believe me I had plenty of weaknesses. But instead of accepting a weakness, I did my best to turn it around. Speed was always an issue; most guys were faster than me. So I learned to play smarter. I learned to play the angles. I was able to read plays developing from either end of the ice and to be in the right spot at the right time.”

“The way I see it, if you get a chance to do something, do it the best you can and it’s likely you can achieve plenty in life. People need to know that almost every day you will need to overcome something on your way to success. You have to approach it all with an attitude that says, ‘I will not be defeated!’”

Reflecting on how people fail to meet their goals and achieve their dreams, Ron believes a fear of failure stops most people:

“They are concerned and afraid that people will look down on them if they fail. My advice is this: what other people think doesn’t matter! You need to focus on your play. Do it the best you can, and don’t let what others say interfere with your mindset or how you feel about yourself.”

Ron advises up-and-coming players that there is no replacement for hard work. He plainly tells them:

“Dedicate yourself to working hard, and stay away from drugs. Whether you agree with your coaches or not, listen to them. The teams that I played with in the seventies could not compete with today’s teams, due to the new training methods. If you don’t train, you will not be able to compete.”

Hockey is a tough sport requiring a lot of drive, determination, and heart:

“I had lots of injuries over my career: broken hand, broken feet—I broke my nose six times! I’ve had all my teeth knocked out. The way I saw it, a hurt ankle or knocked-out teeth are far from your heart. So even with all my teeth knocked out I would get up and get back on this ice—I never missed a shift. I don’t say that to prove I was a tough guy. It’s just that if you want to go big-time, you need to have a big heart.”

Ron’s story shows us that going the extra mile is a way to ensure success. In your pursuit of your dreams, figure out what you can do to dramatically increase the odds of achievement by going the extra mile.

Jerry Gladstone