Abbotsford Heat: Fuelling Your Best Game Leadership Summit Review

Good leaders talk to their staff but great leaders talk with
them – PRIME Learning Group

It wasn’t the atmosphere of a hockey game at the Abbotsford Exhibition Center, but former Canuck players and business leaders were making waves yesterday at the Abbotsford Heat’s Fuelling Your Best Game Leadership Summit.

The interactive summit brought business leaders, sports communities and students together to discuss how to develop your team and hone your leadership skills. As industry leaders specializing in Organizational Development, we know the importance of teambuilding and finding ways to become a better leader and the panelists today did a great job of providing accurate and deep intuitive understandings of the concepts.

The panelists for the event were:

  • President of the Abbotsford Heat Ryan Walter
  • Former Canuck Geoff Courtnall (now Corporate Advisor at
    Lupaka Gold)
  • Former Canuck Cliff Ronning (now Vice President at Base
  • CEO of Coast Capital Savings, Tracy Redies
  • President of Vedder Transportation Group, Fred Zweep
  • Head Coach of the Abbotsford Heat, Troy G. Ward

It was quite absorbing listening to the knowledge and skills these panelists acquired throughout their careers and the paths they chose, which led them to become the industry leaders they are today. When you have a panel comprised of leaders from different fields of work sharing qualities that make a strong leader, it makes it so much easier to embrace them. Some of the attributes they described leaders must have are:

Good communication and honesty:
A leader must be honest and connect with employees through consistent and open communication. A leader should always give recognition and appraisal when needed. A good example of recognition was provided by Tracy Redies when she told the story about how one of her employees working at a local branch emailed her asking to close the banks early during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Once Tracy got approval from her board, she emailed her entire staff and gave recognition to the local bank teller who came up with the idea. Fred Zweep shared a perfect example of effective communication. He said there was a time when he had to make a difficult decision on what to do about an appointed committee that wasn’t performing at the level it should have been. He decided to listen to the needs and wants of his people and included them in the decision making process.

A leader must have a clear vision and know how to achieve it. Leaders must set future goals and objectives and make sure the organization is on the same page. Pat Quinn’s name came up several times from the former hockey players as a visionary leader who had an impact on them.

Leaders must be able to inspire people to reach great heights of performance.
The panelists talked about the many leaders whom have inspired them throughout
their life.

Leaders must have the knowledge and skills to make sound decisions. Their
decisions should be based on moral principles and reason.

The event included activities to encourage audience members to discuss their thoughts and ideas with one another on the topics at hand. Audience members were also encouraged to ask questions, all which generated very insightful responses. My highlight of the night was listening to the stories about Pavel Bure, Jaromir Jagr and Gino Odjick. I would highly recommend attending this event next year.

Omrinder Mahil is a Communications Manager with PRIME Learning Group.
Currently, he is running operations and overseeing all planning,
development, and execution of PRIME’s communication activities, including
managing blog entries. You can expect to read more of his blogs at


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