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Jan 27, 2023

I interviewed Ted Nolan at a conference I hosted for the Coffee Association of Canada. I could see how moved the audience was by his life story, as was I. Thankfully our conversation was recorded so I can share this incredible story with you.

Ted Nolan was the third youngest of twelve children in a house without plumbing or electricity on the Garden River First Nation in northern Ontario. Ted's first pair of hand-me-down skates were so big he had to stuff his rain boots inside to wear them. The more the school system tried to strip away his indigenous identity, the harder the family fought to preserve it.

This is the inspiring and enchanting story of someone who made it to the NHL in the most unconventional way. It was Ted's passion, skill, grit, and ability to deal with rejection. Ted had to battle racism with fans, opponents and even fellow teammates and coaches.

The episode touches on his career as both a hockey player and a coach who knew how to win by caring for his players. It also showcases Ted's dedication to his community. His foundation has provided over 300 scholarships. Ted and his two sons, Brandon and Jordan, who also played in the NHL—created the 3Nolans, to create hockey skills development camps for First Nation youth in First Nation communities across Canada.

Ted is a great storyteller, and he unpacks some great lessons on how to realize your dream, even with very little, and prioritizing what you value versus what others value.

Alan Richardson, SVP of Talent Strategy and Solutions at RBC, and someone who returns to talk about Future Launch, a $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth find and pursue their path in life. Alan has so much to say about attracting, developing and retaining talent; I hope to have him anchor an entire future episode.