The Chicago Bulls won six championships during my formative sports fan years. Those victories are some of my favorite memories of my childhood. It’s been another level of enjoyment, as an adult, to get to enjoy two Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup championships in the last few years. This year was especially exciting. There is just a lot to like about this Blackhawks team. In honor of our Lessons on Leading series this week, here are the Benchmark 5: Leadership Lessons from the Stanley Cup Winning Blackhawks.

  1. Give everything you have. The cliche is “leave it all on the ice/court/etc.” By the time the Stanley Cup rolls around, not a single player on the ice is completely healthy. Guys are playing through injury. Blackhawks captain Johnny Toews didn’t even take a shift in the third period of game five. We was right back out there for game six and the Blackhawks won the Cup. His teammates follow his lead. They couldn’t complain about their bumps and bruises, when they knew how hurt he was.
  2. Get yourself together. Blackhawks star, Patrick Kane, was known as a bit of a wild child. After our Cup win in 2010, he certainly celebrated. A lot … and publicly. A more mature Kane came into this season. If he wasn’t messing around, nobody on the team could.
  3. Respect your elders. The Blackhawks one of the youngest teams in the league (if not the youngest). The rookies and other young guys pay close attention to the veterans on the team. Learn from their skills and example. The captain of the team is always the one who hoists the Cup first. Toews knew to pass it off to the old dudes next. Elder statesmen Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival were up next. They’d earned it.
  4. David vs. Goliath. Andrew Shaw was the smallest guy on the ice the whole series against Boston. That didn’t stop him from going up against the largest man on the ice in Zdeno Chara, a monster standing at over 7’ tall on skates. You better believe the rest of the team was going to play physical too, seeing Shaw do that.
  5. A man of his word. This is a throw back example to the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks, and a nod to the exciting goings on with the downfall of DOMA and the SCOTUS decision this week. Even after being traded away from the team, Brent Sopel returned to man a float in the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. He wanted to honor a commitment he made and stand up for something he believed in.