Legendary goalie Jim Craig, helped the U.S. hockey team win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. Craig has been called the backbone of the team that accomplished one of the most extraordinary and memorable sports victories of all time. He parlayed his success as goalie for the “Miracle on Ice” hockey team into an award winning career in sales and marketing. Among Jim’s many business accomplishments is that over a 10 year period he managed, directed, and built a division of Valassis Communications that had been producing $300,000 a year in sales to a unit that achieved $50 million in sales annually. While working for Valassis, and now as an entrepreneur, Jim has honed his approach to marketing and selling, and created what he calls the “Gold Medal Strategies for Success“.
With Jim Craig you hit the trifecta in a motivational and teamwork coach:
- An athlete who played a key role in one of the highest achieving teams in sports history
- A successful salesperson for a large company
- And a winning entrepreneur
Your business is faced with a unique set of challenges, Jim understands this, so when speaking to your organization Jim enlists and draws from his experiences on the ice and in commerce to customize a speech that is tailored to driving the organization meet their particular goals. This is achieved through several proven packages that are available (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Team Player) all of which keep the message alive through pre-event planning, the event and post event follow up. Jim specializes in partnering with an organization by developing message sustainability and works with a large percentage of his clients multiple times to deliver an agreed upon direction for the customer.
The Keynote Address
Jim guides, motivates and inspires your employees and associates through a 45-minute to one hour speech that is tailored and customized to help your organization achieve the objective of its meeting or conference. As best suits the event, Jim enlists and integrates the stories of his early life and the path to Lake Placid, the memory and experiences of 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and its historic accomplishment and his winning sales and marketing career.
Following are the speech topics in which Jim specializes:
- Team Building
- Creating and Building Great Groups
- Identifying the Right People for the Right Position
- Innovation and Strategic Change
- Making a Difference – Build Your Legacy
- Peak Performance
- Rebounding from Setback and Defeat
- Recruiting – What it Takes to Be a Gold Medal Winner
- Kids and Teenagers: Healthy Living, Making the Right Choices and Pursuing Your Dreams
Special Events, Social Gatherings and Meet & Greets
Jim signs memorabilia, shakes hands, tells stories, has photos taken with guests, and socializes. As best fits the nature and intent of the event, Jim enlists and discusses his experiences in the sports and business world.
Sales & Marketing Seminars
Jim coaches and teaches the strategies, systems, and tactics he has used over his award-winning 25 year sales and marketing career. Through speeches, conducting roundtable discussions and brainstorming sessions, and delivering “chalk talks,” Jim helps your employees and teammates to improve performance and increase the value they return to your organization.
Endorsements and Spokesperson Work
Jim works to increase the visibility and credibility of your brand, corporate message, or organizational mission. Jim is featured across a variety of events (keynotes, meet & greets, autograph signings, store openings) and marketing and media forms (print, online and television advertising, promotional sales, bylined articles,; public education campaigns) that describe and promote a consistent corporate message.
Jim helps align and associate your organization with a cause that gives back to society and supports young people. Jim talks to and meets with kids and teens, on the ice or athletic field, or in another setting. Jim leads discussions and talks about healthy living, making the right choices, and the importance of giving to others. If the clinic has a hockey focus, Jim will provide specific instruction on the fundamentals of the sport, advice on training and his general outlook on and love of the game.
JIM CRAIG BOOK:
Jim Craig has been called the backbone of a team that accomplished one of the most extraordinary and memorable sports victories of all time. He went on to play professionally and transitioned to tremendous and ongoing success in the business world.
Jim is in demand from coast to coast and internationally as a motivational speaker, spokesperson, marketing and sales strategist and master storyteller. He is president of a promotions and marketing firm that also manages and represents Jim and his appearance business. Over the past 25 years, Jim has inspired, instructed and provided strategic and winning direction for employees and associates from more than 300 organizations, including Allianz, Bayer Corporation, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Evergreen Financial, GE Access, Gore Medical, John Hancock, Next Financial, Time Inc., Walt Disney, Welch’s and other companies that hold some of the world’s most recognized brands.
An All-American goalie at Boston University and standout for the Terriers’ 1978 NCAA championship squad, Jim was selected as the starting goaltender for the U.S. 1980 Olympic hockey team. At the Lake Placid games, his performance was phenomenal. Indispensable to Team U.S.A.’s epic – what some have called miraculous – upset of the Soviet Union was the play of Jim Craig. In the game against the Soviets, the Americans were outshot 42-16, but Jim made 39 saves, many of the spectacular variety, and his teammates scored four times. Two days later, against Finland, Jim was again superb, and the Yanks won 4-2 to take Olympic gold.
How incredible was the victory over the Soviets? Consider that as the 20th century came to a close, most major media sports polls selected what happened two decades prior in Lake Placid as the number one sports episode of the previous 100 years. “It may just be the single most indelible moment in all of U.S. sports history,” said Sports Illustrated of Team USA’s win over the Soviet Union. “One that sent an entire nation into frenzy.”
Following the Olympic Games, Craig played in the NHL where he started for the Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins and Minnesota North Stars. While in the net for the North Stars, Jim sustained an injury that ended his professional hockey career. Jim is enshrined in the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
When Jim retired from pro hockey, he pursued a marketing and sales career with the same passion, focus, work ethic and dedication that he put forth on the ice. He signed on as marketing and sales consultant for Valassis Inserts, owned by Australian media magnate Kerry Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings and the largest freestanding newspaper insert company in the U.S. While with Valassis Inserts and later Valassis Communications (also owned by Consolidated Press Holdings), Jim took an operating unit that had $300,000 in annual sales and, over a 10-year period, built it into a unit that did $50 million in annual sales, the top sales-producing division of the corporation. During these years, Jim received “Salesman of the Year” awards from the Marketing Corporation of America and Valassis Communications.
Jim left Valassis in 2005 to become the top salesman of Hat Trick Group, a company that creates and produces promotions, incentive marketing and custom premium programs and products. Under his stewardship and guidance, Hat Trick Group developed new products and services and increased annual dollar sales by 80 percent and its number of clients by 30 percent.
In 2007, Jim directed his competitive zeal and devotion to innovation and teamwork to the launch and operation of Gold Medal Strategies. Still in its infancy, the firm has a growing roster of highly satisfied clients all receiving premium value and competitive advantage.
Jim has volunteered for several years as a youth hockey coach and contributes to and supports many philanthropic organizations and causes, including taking to the ice with the Boston Bruins Alumni to play in benefit games. Jim has also been in discussion with Dr. Oz about featuring Jim and his work for Ultimate SAAAVE in a media segment. During the Winter Olympics themselves, Jim is in major demand for corporations running hospitality events at the games.
Jim and his wife, Sharlene (Charlie), have been married for 20 years. They have a teenage son and daughter, both of whom are talented hockey players, neither of whom play goalie.