Sports & Gaming

Dad’s DIY Guide to Learning Hockey

Wayne Gretzky

Lesson time 07:24 min

Learning to do something doesn’t necessarily require expensive equipment. Wayne’s father got creative with homemade methods to teach his son the fundamentals of hockey, which fueled Wayne’s love for the sport.

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Topics include: Find What Motivates You · Anticipate: Skate to Where the Puck Is Going, Not to Where It’s Been


[MUSIC PLAYING] WAYNE GRETZKY: These days, I see kids with thousands of gear, private training, and all kinds of technology and programs to improve their game. Which is all well and good, but it's not absolutely necessary. Like everyone else in Canada, I got my first pair of skates as a youngster. I was very, very young. I was, I believe, 2 and 1/2. They were hand-me-down skates from an uncle that had used them when he was smaller and younger. My first recollection of skating was on the back river of my grandmother's farm. And in the wintertime in those days, the river would freeze. My dad would take me down and I would skate for hours. So out of a necessity of freezing to death, my dad decided to build the rink in the backyard so he could sit in the kitchen and he could be warm and drink his hot tea while I skated in the backyard for hours. The rink itself was not that big. People would probably be surprised that it was a lot smaller than they probably think. It was probably maybe 25 feet by 50 feet. And that would be exaggerating a little bit, probably. He would buy a sprinkler head. And he would hose down the backyard, and that night he'd leave the sprinkler head on for a couple hours. And it would only take him, oh, probably seven days. And he would get the ice surface about five to six inches thick. And so from day one, my dad started putting out pylons. And he would put out hockey sticks to jump over and pylons to go in and out of. We would put a picnic table and we turn it sideways. And we'd spray paint targets on it so I could shoot pucks at the picnic table. And the only reason we did that is so that it wouldn't go into the next door neighbor's yard and we wouldn't lose the pucks. And so I did that for hours and hours. And then my dad had this belief that my hand and eye coordination was so unique at a young age that I started using tennis balls on the ice. And the reason that my dad wanted tennis balls, was he felt like if you could control a tennis ball that's bouncing on the ice, and control that with a great deal of ease, it was going to be much easier to stick handle and handle a puck that slides and glides across the ice. So I spent hours and hours stick handling with tennis balls and shooting tennis balls. It was just endless hours. And it never stopped. And you know people used to laugh at me, but that's what I loved to do. Neighbors would watch me and shake their heads that I was out there from 6:00 in the morning sometimes til 10:00 at night. The unique thing about my dad was, he cared more about the ice rink than he did his home or is his actual yard. And people would stop at our house in the summertime to stop and ask him how he got his grass so green in the backyard. And my dad probably never put any fertilizer or anything in the backyard. It's probably from all the water that I had throughout the winter that we always had the greenest yard in the summertime. And people ...

About the Instructor

Over his 21-year career, Wayne Gretzky not only rewrote the NHL record book, he also set himself apart as one of the most accomplished professional athletes of all time. Now “The Great One” shares the moments and mindset that made him successful so you can aim for greatness in your own life. Learn the power of an athlete’s mindset and tap into passion, motivation, and dedication. Get ready to take your biggest shot yet.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Wayne Gretzky

NHL star Wayne Gretzky shares his journey and his approach to a winning mindset, from tapping into your true passion to committing to success every day.

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