The late great Fred Shero was passed up for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame this week. Although it was an extremely awesome group of candidates selected this year there’s no doubt that The Fog should of been a part of this list. Mats Sundin played forever in Toronto so he was automatically elected to the Hall. Fred Shero innovated the game way more than Sundin did. Shero changed the style of coaching in the league from strictly gameday coaches to game tape coaches. He invented the idea of watching film to prepare for opponents. That’s innovation. Now every coach in the NHL and many other professional and amateur coaches spend days in the film room. Teams have film room sessions just studying opponents and their own game. There is no coach in almost any professional sport that would deny the impact studying film had at making the sport better than it was before. No one can get away with bad habits in professional sports since the use of film study. It will be identified and it will be exploited thanks to Freddy The Fog’s beautiful mind.
Shero also was the first NHL coach to design systems on the ice. He created different ways to play different teams. He’s the first to see a weakness in an opposing team and attempt to change his own teams’ style of play to take advantage of the other teams’ weakness. Heavy forechecking systems applied against teams that have weak puck moving defensemen which have trouble breaking out. Hard hitting against smaller teams. These were handcrafted game plans for each individual opponent.
Other Fog innovations included the introduction of the morning skate. Back then he probably used it so the guys could sweat out the alcohol from the night before, but regardless it became NHL gameday tradition for every team in the league. He also held off ice practices which was basically weight training. The in season weight training without a doubt helps keep players sharp during the season and is another tactic NHL coaches still use today.
The Fog was also a great character of the game. He was truly a mystery of a man to the public eye. Nobody ever knew what to think of him like the time in Atlanta when he was out very late at night and apparently got mugged. He didn’t remember what happened and missed the game the next night. That’s why he was the Fog. He also had knack for getting the most out of his players. He worked them hard when they were winning and less when they were losing knowing he will get more out of them when things were good. He also defended his players too and never yelled at them as he was quoted once as saying “when a coach yells at a player he’s doing it for himself.” Shero won the inaugural Jack Adams award and won 2 Stanley Cups. He also holds the record for most wins by a coach in Flyers history. There’s is no doubt that it is a travesty that he is not in the Hall.
And now for the top Freddy The Fog quotes in no particular order:
– “Hockey is a child’s game played by men. Since it’s a child’s game it ought to be fun”
– “Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor.”
– “If you keep your opposition on their ass, they don’t score goals.”
– “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.”
– “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”
– “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. For your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
– “Success is failing nine times and getting up 10.”
– “When you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken makes a contribution, the pig makes a commitment.”
– “Success requires no explanations, failure presents no alibis.”
– “Win today and we walk together forever.”
– John LaMarra
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