As a US Navy SEAL, I’ve had the privilege of being part of some of the most elite teams in the world. So, when I read about the leadership structure within the Colorado Avalanche, it immediately resonated with me. The recent article in The Hockey News paints a picture of a team driven not just by talent, but by a culture of excellence and accountability fostered by its leadership core.

The intensity and work ethic displayed by the Avalanche leaders, as described by Zach Parise and echoed by newcomers like Casey Mittelstadt and Sean Walker, are qualities I recognize from my experiences. It’s clear that the team’s leaders set a high standard, not just through their words but through their actions on and off the ice. Parise’s observation that it’s not just about what they say, but how they carry themselves, speaks volumes about the authenticity of their leadership.

What struck me most was the diverse backgrounds within this leadership group and their range of experiences and skills that complement each other. Head coach Jared Bednar’s acknowledgment of this diversity and his confidence in the group’s ability to cover all aspects of team leadership is commendable. Nathan MacKinnon’s role as the emotional leader, exemplified by his relentless work ethic and commitment to excellence, sets the tone for the entire team.

As a veteran of the league, Parise has seen his fair share of leadership groups, but he describes Colorado’s as unique. The emphasis on high-level performance, even in practice, speaks to a commitment to continuous improvement and a refusal to settle for anything less than the best. This kind of environment, where players are constantly challenged to elevate their game, breeds success.

The continuity of leadership within the Avalanche, even in the absence of key players like Gabriel Landeskog, speaks to the strength of the team’s culture. MacKinnon’s acknowledgment that last year’s shortcomings were a result of various factors but that this year presents a different opportunity underscores the team’s resilience and determination to reclaim the Stanley Cup.

The Colorado Avalanche’s leadership core embodies the principles of excellence, accountability, and diversity in its truest sense. Their unwavering commitment to pushing themselves and their teammates to be the best they can be is a testament to the kind of culture that breeds success. As a Navy SEAL, I can’t help but admire and respect the ethos of this team, and I look forward to seeing them continue to excel on their journey to championship glory.