Former Canucks GM Mike Gillis explains how the best teams in the world develop culture (VIDEO)

In 2019, Coaching Hockey, Culture, Leadership, Premium Interviews, Premium Leadership, Premium Videos by Kelvin Cech1 Comment

One of the many great things about Mike Gillis’ presentation at our 2019 TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference was how it transcended hockey. The presentation could apply to any sport. Any industry, really – an accounting firm on the other side of the planet could learn from his messages.

“There are no born leaders,” Gillis said. “Leaders are developed. Top organizations are implementing leadership protocols every day to train leaders.”

For the former player agent and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, culture isn’t a magical element you either have or you don’t – it’s something you create. Something you can mold, develop, and shape.

After leaving the Canucks in 2014, Gillis travelled the world to learn all he could about successful organizations. And he shared that with an eager crowd at Ryerson University last summer.

“The top organizations are focused on a daily training environment. They’re trying to push the envelope from the time a player shows up in the facility to the time they leave.”

Gillis famously promoted analytics during his time in Vancouver, as well as other ideas that were uncommon at the time. He helped develop an organization and a culture built on adjustments and adapting to the ever-changing nature of our game.

If you want to lead hockey players, a staff, or simply be the voice of positive change for everyone in your organization, watch Gillis’ presentation and apply the lessons he learned in North America, Switzerland, China, and beyond, to your own program.

Check out the trailer below, and watch the full premium video with a membership to The Coaches Site.

Key Quotes:

  • “Deploying your players in a particular way to maximize skill, and that deployment starts with leadership.”
  • “We made Roberto Luongo the captain because we wanted him to become a better leader, and we didn’t identify another candidate who was ready. We wanted to improve the leadership of our team, and it worked.”
  • “Certain people, no matter what happens in their environment, nothing changes with their cortisone and testosterone. With others the smallest change has a huge impact.”
  • “There’s so much good information and science out there, so if you’re serious about improving, then you just have to find it and figure out how it applies to you.”
  • “Experience, mentorship, opportunity. That’s where leadership comes from. Leadership comes from the way you run your life. And it comes from understanding that everything is part of a process.”

Watch the full video here:





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About the Author

Kelvin Cech


Former editor in chief of The Coaches Site, current head coach of the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. See All Posts By Kelvin



  1. What was the title of the book he was reading?

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