He never coached in my hometown, but I do know him through his reputation as being a great coach. So, in times like this where my own knowledge of a subject is limited, I refer to other people who are in the loop. Sportsnet columnist and former Sabres beat writer Jim Kelley has perhaps the best tribute to the late coach. He recounted the wisdom passed along to him during their last meeting.
"It's pretty much like I used to tell my players," he said. "You can't complain about the circumstances, about the hand you're dealt. You just get up every day and you deal with it. It's hard, it's hard on you and it's hard on your family, but you can't change any of that. You get up, you look in the mirror and you say 'not today, you're not going to beat me today'. Sometimes you win that day, sometimes the cancer knocks you down and takes its day, but you get up again tomorrow. You keep getting up until the day comes..."But of the things I am comfortable talking about is the way that the disease known as cancer has gotten so bad and taken so many lives, that we must all do a part to find a way to find a better cure for it. The NHL already does a lot for charity and hope that you too can find the time to contribute.
You can check out another blog I started few years ago to highlight the worthy charities and efforts of hockey people. I cross-promoted this blog post over there as well.
Sportsnet.ca - Jim Kelley
[Cross-posted @ Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic Charities Blog]