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Ray Shero says father knew where game was headed

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero has always been told his dad was a pioneer in the coaching business. He has the proof at home to suggest that Fred Shero was also a visionary.

"He actually wrote something in his playbook back in '75, 'What hockey would look like in 2020,' and it's pretty amazing in terms of what it was," Ray told on Sunday. "I still have it."

Fred Shero won the Stanley Cup twice with the Philadelphia Flyers. He is known for being the first coach to study game film. He traveled to the Soviet Union to meet with legendary coach Anatoli Tarasov and learn the nuances of the game from his side of the world. He hired the NHL's first full-time assistant coach, Mike Nykoluk. He introduced morning skates to the NHL.

But 38 years ago, he had ideas for what the game would look like in the future, and he was pretty accurate.

"Part of what he wrote includes that every team is going to have a penalty-killing guy, a power-play guy, a strength coach or a mind vitamin guy, which is a sports psychologist," Shero said. "Everybody talks about getting stronger, but what about the mind and making sure your mind is good?"

There are guys now who are known as strong PK guys, elite power-play guys. Every team has a strength coach. Sports psychologists are used on a regular basis.

"He also thought the rinks would be bigger in terms of size to make room for the bigger player, and maybe he was on to something," Ray said.

Not yet, but of course that has been debated.

"I think my dad knew a lot about the game," Shero said.


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