Are you in search of the best hockey quotes to elevate your game or inspire your team? Whether you're a player, a coach, or a fervent fan, the right words can make a world of difference. Hockey is not just a physical contest; it's a mental and emotional journey where the right mindset can be your game-winning goal.
In this post, we've compiled an exceptional list of the best hockey quotes from legends of the sport. These hockey quotes are more than just motivational—they're transformative, offering actionable insights that can help you excel both on and off the ice. From Wayne Gretzky's timeless wisdom to Herb Brooks' motivational gems, these quotes are your playbook for success.
Ready to ignite your passion and skate your way to greatness? Let's get started
Wayne Gretzky: “The Great One on Greatness”
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
This is probably the most famous in our list of best hockey quotes.
It was actually Wayne’s father, Walter, who came up with this quote.
But Wayne made it popular after leading the US hockey team to victory in the 1980s Olympics.
“The day I stop giving is the day I stop receiving. The day I stop learning is the day I stop growing.”
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
These two quotes are actually part of the same speech.
Gretzky’s outlook on life is often repeated in office meetings, by life coaches, and in self-help books - and why wouldn’t they?
Gretzky explained that his coach was frustrated by his failure to shoot as a child athlete, and that's what cemented this idea in his mind.
Never taking the shot is as good as missing, so you might as well try.
“I wasn't naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for, and that's the way I'll be as a coach.”
Gretzky became a coach in 2000 after retiring from his player status, and in that time, he wanted to remind everyone that opportunity and training are what made this Hall of Fame star great - not natural prowess.
If your players have passion and drive, then show them Gretzky and remind them that even he was considered average once.
Brian Burke: “Management Wisdom from the Leafs’ Former GM”
“Sometimes you do the hard work and set the table, and somebody else eats the meal.”
Burke was the manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2008 until 2011, and during that time, the Maple Leafs were not doing well.
Toronto failed to qualify for the playoffs every year while Burke was the manager.
When Burke finally left, the Maple Leafs were able to make it to the playoffs, which is when the old manager said his iconic quote.
If you have a player who helped create an epic win but didn’t get the recognition or wasn’t able to play due to an injury, this quote can help you explain that the win is still theirs, even if they weren’t directly involved.
Joseph Jean Arthur Béliveau: “The Hall of Famer on Talent and Hard Work”
“Talent is a gift, but you can only succeed with hard work.”
If you have a player who solely relies on their raw talent and doesn’t put in the hard work to improve, then use this quote by Hall of Fame player Jean Béliveau.
Raw talent can only get you so far; effort is the key to success.
Eric Lindros: “Quality Over Quantity: Lindros on Practice”
“It’s not necessarily the amount of time you spend at practice that counts; it’s what you put into the practice.”
Sometimes, you will have players who constantly get injured; other times, you will have players with strong real-life commitments, like taking care of their ill family members.
When these players have to slow down their practice days, they can feel dejected, thinking they aren’t putting in enough effort.
But as Lindros says, it's the heart and dedication that goes into practice that makes you learn and grow. Remind these players that they are still part of the team.
Hank Aaron: “Cross-Sport Wisdom: Learning from Baseball’s Best”
“Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”
Although Aaron wasn’t a hockey player, his statement still stands strong in the hockey community.
There will be times when your team fails, and naturally, that failure will turn into upset.
It’s in this dejected moment that we pull out Hank Aaron’s wise words and remember that failure is just a learning experience.
When you’re next at practice, aim the lessons around the issues that caused the team to fail and help them get stronger in this area.
Once they see themselves improving, their attitude will change.
Phil Esposito: “The Heart of Hockey: Esposito on Passion”
“Play with passion and heart. If you don’t carry passion into sport – or into any job for that matter – you won’t succeed.”
Passion is the heart of hockey, and the Hall of Fame player Phil Esposito knew that.
You cannot play a good game without having a love for the sport. Some players get too much inside their heads.
They start to double-guess their moves, get too involved with their teammates' choices, and become flustered at the slightest confusion.
When players like this start to falter, you need to remind them that passion, and not backseat strategy, will help them win.
Paul Coffey: “The Journey to Excellence: Coffey’s Take”
“Nobody's a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. It's hard to stay on top.”
There will always be a player who simply says, “I wasn’t born with that kind of talent”.
But when they start doubting their abilities, that's when you pull out the Paul Coffey quote.
Of course, there will be people who pick up on things quicker than others, but to actually be good, that person has to try hard.
No one is born knowing how to draw, just like nobody's born knowing how to play hockey.
Hard work is what keeps you on top.
Gordie Howe: “Mr. Hockey on Giving Your All”
“You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave – win or lose.”
When you need that extra something to push your players into giving everything they’ve got, quote Gordie Howe.
The legend hit the nail on the head when he said that putting 100% into the game will make you rest easily.
You cannot get upset with your efforts when you know you did all you could. And if you won but didn’t put in 100%, you wouldn’t feel like the game was worth it.
Herb Brooks: “Olympic Gold Insights: Your Moment is Now”
“This is your moment. You’re meant to be here.”
This quote by Olympic coach Herb Brooks is one you should always have in your back pocket.
When you see a player start to doubt themselves, when the nerves kick in, and they can’t seem to get out of their head, you get them to sit down and simply say, “This is your moment.
You’re meant to be here.”
Say it quietly but with purpose. They will remember that moment as it powers them into the game. This is their moment.
Joe Sakic: “The Captain’s Role: Sakic’s Perspective”
“You need a lot of leaders, but a hockey team needs a voice, not only in the community but more importantly between the coaching staff and the players.
There are always ups and downs in a season; the captain is the guy players look to in those situations.”
When you give a new team captain their role, you should inspire them with this quote. Joe Sakic got it right.
Not only does the captain need to guide their team, but they also need to be the voice of the team.
They are on the ice with the other players and so can see what a coach and what the manager cannot.
A good captain can balance the communication between all parties, allowing the group to work as one.
Steve Yzerman: “Long-Term Success: Yzerman’s View”
“Whether somebody is really competent – whether he has a good hockey mind, whether he’s a good person to lead a hockey club – is something determined over a long period of time, not one tournament.”
If one of your players, or even your whole team, has a terrible year, then it’s time to think back to Steve Yzerman's wise words.
Everyone has their rough spots, but one bad game or one bad season doesn’t determine if you are a bad player or not.
It’s your overall style from start to finish that shows how good you are.
No one looks at a player’s final years in professional hockey before deciding if they were any good.
Most Hall of Famers had their best accomplishments in the middle of their career, and yet we still consider them to be outstanding players even though they couldn’t possibly reach that level now.
That's because the overall gameplay is what we are looking at. And that's what your players should remember.
Bobby Orr: “The Reality Check: Orr on Winning and Losing”
“There are no environments where you’re only going to win because life just isn’t like that.”
This quote might sound morbid, but it is a reality check. If you have players that keep picking at the thing they did wrong, talk to them about Bobby Orr.
In this quote alone, he explained that nothing will be perfect. Perfection isn’t possible.
Even in your successes, there will be a glimpse of failure somewhere. That failure should be your next learning point and not a moment of shame.
Your Next Power Play Starts Here: The Lasting Impact of Hockey Wisdom
So there you have it—words of wisdom from the Titans of the Ice that can transform your approach to the game and life itself. Whether you're a player lacing up for the first time or a seasoned coach looking to lead your team to victory, these quotes offer more than mere inspiration; they provide actionable insights to elevate your game.
Remember, the best athletes aren't just physically skilled; they're mentally tough. They understand the power of the right mindset, the impact of unwavering dedication, and the importance of team spirit. And now, armed with these quotes, you're well-equipped to bring out the best in yourself and those around you.
So what are you waiting for? Take these quotes to heart, apply their lessons on the ice, and watch as you and your team skate your way to new heights of excellence. Because in hockey, as in life, the right words can make all the difference.
If you have enjoyed our list of the best hockey quotes. You might also enjoy our list of the best hockey chirps. Check it out!