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Tribute to Con Murphy

Tribute to Con Murphy

Con Murphy

The hockey world has lost another quality person. Conrad R Murphy passed on March 29, 2017. For those who did not know him up close and personal, you missed out on someone special.. Death has a way of bringing back memories that we will revisit many times over as we think of Con. There are all kinds of ways to define greatness but count us in as one who believes greatness stands alone and you do not have to reach the highest pinnacle to be great. Con was a professional mentor who achieved greatness and was an even better person.

 One word comes to mind when we think of you, Con. The word is "love". The word is etched in stone because you have always been honest, loyal, respectful and trustworthy in our partnership. I say Partnership because this is what we were. Every bit of what we have together has been earned and proven to each other. Never once did I see us as head coach and assistant coach. We were partners who were different in many ways but focused on what was right for our players for all the right reasons. The players came first and our families understood that. The beauty of it all is our work included bus drivers, banana band, cheerleaders, staff and student body who became extended family and had each other’s backs. 

We were able to show them that success and winning is the byproduct of honesty, loyalty, respect and trust fueled by a love and passion for the game, life and all we did.

 We were two people working together for a common cause with one pulse and we encouraged those in our care to study great people if they wanted to be a success story in life. Hope and belief were fueled by hard and smart work with a serious dose of commitment and determination. We were spontaneous in our decisions because no situation with students is a scheduled event. Our primary goal was all of us creating a better version of ourselves and we accomplished this.

 To say I've been blessed as a coach and educator in Bemidji is an understatement. I had three unbelievable partners in you (Hockey), Desi Sagedahl (Baseball) and Ralph Vonasek (Industrial Education) and there were more. What a great school with a great staff and a community who cared; all of this fueled by people like Con Murphy. Our wives and kids were all part of the package; even our parents took part. Our relationship has stood the test of time even though our lives have gone in different directions since our Bemidji days. Every partnership has two winners or no winners. Ours is win - win and we won in a lot of ways; most importantly our players becoming productive citizens who can pass an authenticity test in real life and care.

 Your son, Brian, came to us during the summer months and is still ranked as an employee that will never be beat in any way. He can only be matched; an extension of his upbringing. He set the standard for Pro Shop employees and remains friends with our kids as we write.

 Your wife, Geri, said it best: “We grew up together as professionals. Our kids grew up together and are still in touch. We went through a lot of highs and lows together; most of it highs.”

 We instilled belief, boldness, caring, charisma, confidence, compassion, compete, courage, determination, respect for what each teammate brought to the mix, lots of try and a will to win. Everything we did was driven by intangibles. Together we created an attitude, brand and culture that set the standard for expectations out of those we mentored.

  This is the way life is supposed to work; a life with purpose, reason and substance but always remaining ordinary and fun. We encouraged creativity in critical moments and the finished products were people who were unafraid to express themselves when it counted most.

 They had the skill to fit in, the skill to express their skills and the skills to figure things out in a split second when they couldn’t rely on a parent or coach’s manual. They did everything hard and smart; they were intense but energy efficient. You were the catalyst for making this happen. The coolest thing is much of what we did together became part of the foundation for our futures; something I’ve been able to build on in our Template for Success program @ MHC. All of what we did is still useful at our summer camp and we certainly use it when mentoring campers and staff. You and Ralph were there with Herb Brooks the first night we opened and I will always respect the Bemidji Fish Fry Crew for showing and performing; knowing you guys pushed for it.

 Partnerships like ours stay with us forever and for that I am eternally grateful. We are in a position to take the partnership with us when the Lord decides to call us home.

 God bless you and your family and know how grateful we were to see you, Geri and Brian at Claire's funeral on March 4, 2017.

 Love you, my friend and partner, and love your family. Rest in peace knowing you are as good a detail person, one who cared about others before any personal gains, as any we’ve met at any time in our lives.

 Chuck “Gringo” Grillo

Honored to Partner with Con Murphy

Clairene Grillo's passing; thank you for heartwarming response

Clairene Grillo's passing; thank you for heartwarming response

Every Moment is a Teaching Moment

Social media is a wonderful way to communicate and spread news. We had a very heartwarming response fm so many people when Clairene Grillo passed on that we decided to write one response to all and use it as a teaching moment for those who attend, have attended and will attend Minnesota Hockey Camps. First and foremost, we read every one of your comments and we realize there are more coming.. You, taking time to comment, show that you have the greatest intangible one can acquire. You sincerely care. In many cases, you were simply reciprocating for enjoying your experiences with Claire, some with us as a team, and Minnesota Hockey Camps. In all cases, this was deeply appreciated because this is her moment. Keep in mind, we know there are others who sincerely care and have their way of closure without saying or writing a word and we respect that.

Our daughter, Tracy, and I were talking about the word “care” yesterday simply because it comes to the forefront during moments like this. We felt it should be family taught @ a young age and it should be reinforced in the school system and co-curricular activities. Intangibles, to me, are like an elective in school. You have the Basic English, Math and Science, but none of this works for our children unless they acquire all of the intangibles required to succeed in life. Intangibles give our children a way to express their knowledge and skill set. They drive your mindset, which drives your skill-set. One cannot perform/work to the maximum without the other. They maximize each other. Take some time to teach them, “How life really works”.

Unconditional care for others is easy to teach, especially if there are so many examples in the family. Teachers creating an awareness of the importance of caring are doing their students a huge favor. When athletes give back they will raise their game. Feeling good about yourself pumps your heart. When your heart is pumped you will see positive results. There is no better feeling than you feeling good about you. There is no better feeling than creating a better version of you. Life and performance will be greatly enhanced.

Do yourself a huge favor and write down all of the intangibles required for success; then rate yourself on each. Be sure to put the finishing touches on all of them with the following:

Skill to fit in.

Skill to express your skill.

Skill to figure it out when it’s not in your parents or coach’s manuals.

Rate your purpose, reason and substance levels while being ordinary and fun.

What is your intensity level and are you energy efficient?

Do you do everything hard and smart?

Do you get up each morning with the intention of doing something out of the ordinary; recognizing that it’s human nature to get up and be who we are? What is your authenticity level?

What is your humor level; especially in adverse situations?

Are you interested in creating a better version of you?

How long does it take you to care? Is it unconditional or forced?

I was given a small box of three (3) chocolates the other night by a young squirt hockey player at a small gathering. The power of this gesture will do more for this young man than he can imagine. The joy in my eyes while receiving showed him there is an importance to giving. I will guarantee you he will play better the next time he goes on the ice; especially if he is aware of how this works and affects the human mind. He will also do better in school. Thanks, Gage.

I decided to leave the gathering @ my first opportunity and write this; thinking of all the people who took time to care; whether bringing something, writing something, calling, texting, praying or doing something in their own way. They will all do better @ what they do because of it and they certainly will see a better version of their self.

Simply put; this is how life works! Caring, giving and sharing have the power to change your life in a positive way. When you embolden those in your care, this is the highest level of caring and doesn’t cost you a cent. Clairene Grillo was an expert quietly doing this when in her presence. I, and thousands of others, are the beneficiaries.

By the way, the chocolates didn’t last very long in the heart shaped Valentine Day box.

Christmas Message

Christmas Message

Christmas Message

 Each year we hear discussion on the true meaning of Christmas. It is a time to celebrate the spirit of the Holiday Season and a precious birth. It is a time to celebrate the gift of life but also the gift of talent and being able to participate in a sport with real life time values.

 We believe we are a camp that emulates the true meaning of Christmas. While we are not involved in birth, we have been witness to the rebirth of countless careers and certainly have jump started many more. We could line the walls of our camp with 8 x 10 pictures of success stories in the game and the development of productive citizens with successful careers in real life.

 Training and working during the summers at our facility has a value far beyond the game of hockey. You need the game more than the game needs you. When you step on the ice, "Trust your game" and learn to “go with your instincts”. Play the game as long as the game will have you, and then take all you've experienced and carve out a career in the real world. You, or your parents, haven't wasted one nickel of your investment in training. The intangibles developed while training and playing the game will enhance any career in life. The element of growth training and performing away from your "home comfort zone" cannot be measured. The element of growth away fm home is a required ingredient in the process.

 Exposing liabilities and assets is our obligation to you. While one may seem frustrating, both are positives because they are only a measurement of where you are today. We do this with the hope that you recognize who and what you are as you define your game as well as develop a "back up game". We will provide you with the facility, program and staff to help you be as much as you can be. Our goal is to create a better version of yourself.

 “All we ask is that you pass on all you’ve learned to the next generation and encourage new generation to attend what we hope was ‘your’ camp.”

 Exposure camps are a real life experience athletes will encounter many times in their lives. This is an opportunity to go beyond their job description. People lacking desire, effort and efficient energy to go beyond their job description will fail in their effort to maximize their full potential in both hockey and real life. We were not put on this earth to be mediocre or average.

 Christmas is a reminder that we were created to go beyond our job description and be a cut above. If we want to live a rewarding life, aim for excellence and do more than is required. This creates an enthusiasm for life and guarantees peace of mind and happiness; passionate, proud, pumped and wired. Christ was more than “just a carpenter”.

 Young people pick and choose who to emulate. They choose first from their immediate family; then peers and mentors. Players should consider themselves fortunate when they have no inhibitions when it comes time to express their unique skills. They are blessed if they have the unique abilities to make a difference in any setting as well as "close a deal" and/or make a critical moment play.

 When you consider the words "flair" and "charisma" and then the words "close a deal and critical moments", these are underlying reasons for success. Players should consider themselves blessed if this is in their genes or they acquire them from emulating peers and mentors. We recognize every player has one or more unique skills. Players are responsible for over achieving in their asset categories and the intangibles players possess are the catalyst for doing that.

 Players are responsible for minimizing and managing their liabilities.

 Holidays give us time to reflect on the thousands of athletes and staff we have worked with over the forty-nine (49) years working hockey camps during the summer months. We are proud to say that we have taken the time to enhance young peoples' careers in many ways while working nine (9) to ten (10) weeks each of those summers. It takes a special person to give up their summers. This is why our staff gives us even more reason to celebrate.

 Our every day wish is that you take some time to critique where you are with your life and your game as you celebrate with your family and friends. Count your blessings that you are in a game that prepares you for most every real life experience. Ask yourself some questions. Am I doing everything possible to maximize my potential as a person and player? Am I grateful to those who are providing opportunities for me? Am I representing myself and my family so I can have Peace of Mind when it comes time to reflect on my life as I move in to my retirement years? Do I have the boldness, coping skills, courage, intelligence, stamina and strength to manage my liabilities and cultivate my assets? Am I one who has the passion to pass on my positive experiences to others?

 Working and owning a camp gives us a reason to celebrate an imperfect life, one where I know in my own mind I could have been a lot better person and a lot better player. MHC gives me a reason to celebrate my life and our contribution to society. We celebrate the contribution our camp has made to the economy of the Brainerd Lakes Area. We celebrate every success story where we played a small to significant role in a person's success.

 We have an internal wealth we can take with us forever. This gives us Peace of Mind. It’s all about “Authenticity”; what you see is what you get”. Key words are purpose, reason and substance; while being ordinary and fun. It’s all about being passionate, proud, pumped and wired.

 We measure our success in the 8 x 10's we could hang on the walls of our camp.  If we had a picture of every success story in hockey and in life, the walls at MHC would be richly enhanced.  We have been able to play a significant role in many lives though our friendship, teaching, guidance, discipline, uniqueness, unbiased beliefs and unconditional love and respect for the players we come in contact with.  Love and respect is a two way street.  There are two winners or no winners.  Nurturing young people makes life worth living and it is also a privilege that we do not take for granted.

 The hardest part of being an athlete is defining your game.  I feel for the athlete who says, "I can't please everyone.  I just go out and do what make me feel good."  How about the player who loses but finds happiness in the fact they put up a few numbers or won an award?  Players are not interested in “how we used to do it”.  They are more in tune with “what can we do to get it done now?” The next time you see a goal scored, check out the different degrees of happiness for another person’s success amongst the teammates. This will tell you what kind of team you have.

 We would like to see the quote read, "I try to please everyone by going out and doing the little things that gain respect without having to go top shelf, make a great play or Sports Illustrated save."  The great plays and top shelf goals are the end result of infectious and efficient energetic play. 

 We have a responsibility to nurture athletes to a point where they play and perform for fans, coaches and teammates.  This explains why a T J Oshie, Scott Hartnell, Derek Stepan, Wayne Simmonds, Tyler Ennis, and Matt Read can captivate an audience, coaching staff and teammates with their energetic and infectious game and maybe not score a point.

 Have you ever been in a restaurant where the crowd empties out because the band is playing to hear how they play; playing for their self?  How do entertainers reach a level where they are reaching out to the clients, then they take a break and the clients can't wait for the next set, versus walk out the door?  Players are no different.

 What a simple and easy way to define a career.  If every player's first inclination was to play for others, they would have a better chance of playing in the NHL.  Those capable of putting up numbers would prosper more and all of the players would make their teammates better players.  Learn to treat the game like you would when you invest your money.  Treat the game like you were investing your life in the sport.

 We have a choice of being miserable or happy when we wake up in the morning.  This carries over to our thoughts while driving to work and time on the job; whether on the rink or in some other capacity.  The outdoor Greenhaven Rink (built by my Father, Matt Berklich and me) in Hibbing, Minnesota did more to define our family's legacy than any other thing.  Don Stewart came on board to make sure that this was an ongoing thing in the community.

 This rink is a place where all young players can practice their skills in a happy atmosphere.  I don't remember being any happier in my life than I was while working and playing at the Greenhaven Rink.  I learned that working, practicing and playing hard was a fun thing to do with your friends.  The rink was a happy place that did as much for others as it did for us. The same holds true for real friends and clients.  Each new relationship makes things a little better or a little worse.  It’s important to take all the good fm each relationship.

 I once wrote to my son, Dino. “Here's hoping and praying that you are all much happier than the day o2k was formed because you are taking the time to create an awareness in what it takes for young people to succeed.”  Today, o2k is a thriving sports management company.

 The first form of awareness is the development of all the intangibles it takes to excite a staff, fans and teammates.  Part of this comes from the work ethic required to develop better balance and become bigger, faster, quicker, and stronger which translates in to a psychological advantage over your opponent.  This translates in to all the things that make your teammates better.  Your performance is the bi-product of this belief and effort.

 Feeling happy and good about you, coupled with skills levels, translates in to performance in the numbers category. The end result is each player contributes to a team and has a better chance of maximizing their potential as an individual.

 We were reminded of all this when we read about a person from American Idol who was cut from the program.  She said, "You can't please everybody.  I just try to go out and do what makes me feel good."  This young lady failed because some mentor failed to create an awareness of what it takes to succeed as an entertainer.  I would rather see a mentor tell her, "Step on that stage with a song that will energize the crowd!  Sing for everyone in that room every time you step on that stage and a lot of great things are going to happen to you in your life!  You will create a level of love for you that will maximize your talent.  When you finally get that hit record, you will have to sing it over and over and over again; thousands of times.  Each time you sing that song, your mindset should be that you are singing it better than the time before and you are doing it for the people who gave that song the credibility it deserved."

 Look at the careers of players like Mario Lemieux, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Ron Francis or Mark Recchi. You will find one basic ingredient.  They have the ability to sing their song game after game after game.  Each had a different hit song. Each tried to sing it better every time they hit the ice. Each made their teammates better players.

 People in their right minds never take pride in their talent if their purpose is playing for themselves and/or exploiting others.  Playing for your teammates, while caring about others, is a prerequisite for any skilled person wanting to maximize their potential. 

 We believe, "Every person on this earth is capable of singing a song in life that will bring joy and make others happy while maximizing their unique skills." 

 Each year, especially around week nine at our camp, we observe some form of change in young men and women.  Whether lack of success, or success, we observe changes in attitude, personality and approach to training.  Yet the reason for success, or lack of, never changes.   All of a sudden we begin to wonder what happened and why we don’t recognize the person we once knew and liked so much as a fun loving, hard working kid who trained and played the game with a passion we thought would only grow.  Then there is the player who has gone from one who didn’t care to one who cares.

 While the reasons are many and varied, we do have a responsibility to share this with the hope we can salvage, or inspire, one more player who goes from uncommitted to committed.  Most of these changes come as a complete surprise but happen from year to year. 

 We pray every day that the athletes who have pure intentions get treated with respect because of all the things they stand for.  It is very easy to find things wrong with players, whether deficiencies in play or personal make up. 

 We cannot form a set of beliefs about a player before we encounter them as a person.  Knowing the person, and what they stand for, allows us to predict success with more accuracy.  When we know the thought process and value system of the person we can make some kind of prediction or judgment on the future. Success is more about the person than the player. We find it easy to recommend a young person who has spent time @ our camp and earned the respect of their peers and staff.

 Our Holiday Wish this season is we continue to have the opportunity to work with young aspiring athletes as long as we are on this earth and able.

 Copyright by Chuck “Gringo” Grillo, Minnesota Hockey Camps, 24621 So Clark Lake, Rd P.O. Box 90, Nisswa, MN 56468-0090 Phone 218.963.2444 Cell 218.821.8400 Fax 218.963.2325

 Email: chuck@mnhockeycamps.com

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