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Success Story Podcast

Chris Pronger – Hockey Hall of Famer & Entrepreneur | What it Takes to Win the Stanley Cup

By May 24, 2023September 24th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Chris Pronger is a Hockey Hall of Famer, renowned for his remarkable achievements both on and off the ice. As a Top 100 all-time NHL player, Stanley Cup Champion, NHL MVP, and 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, his legacy in the world of hockey is unparalleled. However, Pronger’s ambitions extend far beyond his illustrious sports career.

Together with his wife Lauren, Chris is passionately building a boutique luxury travel company that reflects the same dedication and excellence he demonstrated throughout his professional hockey journey. Their vision is to create a travel experience that caters to elite athletes, entertainers, C-level executives, and business owners, providing them with unparalleled service and unforgettable journeys.

With his remarkable achievements as a hockey legend, Chris Pronger now brings his passion for excellence and his commitment to wellness to the world of luxury travel. Through their boutique travel company, he and his wife aim to provide unparalleled experiences and create a lasting impact on the lives of their clients, much like Chris did throughout his extraordinary hockey career.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 03:13 — Chris Pronger’s Origin: From the Ice to Business Success
  • 06:45 — The Transformative Years: Chris Pronger’s Journey Before Stardom
  • 10:55 — Leadership Lessons: How Pronger’s Qualities Transcend Sports
  • 15:18 — The Makings of Greatness: Insights from Chris Pronger’s Success
  • 21:43 — From Puck to Portfolio: Chris Pronger’s Path into Finance and Business
  • 28:55 — Navigating Wealth: Chris Pronger’s Financial Journey and Lessons Learned
  • 31:22 — Beyond the Ice: Financial Struggles of Fellow Hockey Players
  • 35:07 — Strategy and Mistakes: Chris Pronger’s Road to Success and Missteps
  • 38:41 — Learning from Mistakes: Chris Pronger’s Investments and Growth
  • 42:08 — Unveiling the Vision: Chris Pronger’s Travel Business Logic
  • 49:08 — Building a Business: Chris Pronger’s Criteria for Success
  • 52:56 — Connecting with Chris Pronger: How to Reach the Hockey Icon
  • 53:40 — Defining Success: Chris Pronger’s Perspective on Achievement

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.


Host of the Success Story Podcast:








Machine Generated Transcript


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Chris Pronger, Scott D Clary


Scott D Clary  00:00

All the motivational speakers I listened to are like all football coaches and they all have these like great business lessons. Why is that? It seems to be a prerequisite.


Chris Pronger  00:07

I think it’s inherent in Sports Leadership matters to teams that have great leadership. They’re able to push players to play at their best. He’s a beast. I mean, obviously he disliked. It’s very hard to take and only people that really matter the guys in the room don’t seem to mind.


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Chris Pronger plays on the eighth suspensions and more than 1500 penalty minutes Pronger is one of hockey’s most imposing and intimidating player Norris trophy goes to Chris Pronger the site loves


Scott D Clary  00:46

What makes somebody great?


Chris Pronger  00:48

First and foremost talent. And then I think it’s discipline and continue to get better. Some people think they’re working hard until they start working next to somebody who is working hard.


Scott D Clary  00:59

How did you set yourself up properly? What was your strategy?


Chris Pronger  01:04

I made my first mistakes to


Scott D Clary  01:08

good mistakes like give a good mistake.


Chris Pronger  Why I don’t know why but


Scott D Clary  01:12

Welcome to success story. I’m your host Scott Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. Now the HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like my first million hosted by Sam Parr and Shawn Perry. They interview some of the most incredible business leaders Alex for Mozi Sophia Amoruso Hassan Minh has who share their journey to success and how they made their first million. On a recent episode they featured the acquired podcast hosts Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal to discuss how they scaled their multimillion dollar podcast. Don’t sleep on my first million if you want to get inspired. If you want to learn from the best, you gotta tune into my first million wherever you listen to your podcast. today. My guest is Chris Pronger, Canadian former professional Ice Hockey defenseman and former adviser to the Florida Panthers originally selected second overall by the Hartford Whalers in the 93 NHL Entry Draft Pronger played for Hartford, the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks before being traded to Philadelphia Flyers before the 2009 Intense season. He was captain of the blues ducks and flyers he’s appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams Edmonton, Anaheim and Philadelphia, winning a cup of the ducks. 2007 Pronger won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL is most valuable player for the 1999 and 2000 season, becoming the first defenseman to win the award since Bob You’re a mainstay on Team Canada Pronger won Olympic gold medals at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games. And as a member of the triple gold Club in 2017, he was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players in history. Now we spoke about how he got drafted and developed as a hockey player business lessons that cross over from sports to Business Leadership Lessons from the locker room, how to be the top point oh 1% of any profession, money problems that professional athletes why more than 50% of athletes go broke Chris’s personal investment pillars and lessons learned investing in building and scaling businesses.


Chris Pronger  03:14

Probably the most pivotal moment was my fourth year in the third year, coming out of my third year going into my fourth year figuring out I met with a trainer. Actually, this was my fourth year now with a trainer. You know, I had a sore shoulder I had a bad knee. You know, I was eating like Eggo waffles in the morning. I you know all this stuff like, you know, 21 years old, you can eat whatever you want. And I came in I met the trainer. He’s that guy. I walk from here to there and I walked like six steps. And you just want to watch me for a second goes. You got a bad shoulder. I’m like, yeah, go Yeah, I think I hurt my rotator cuff. You got a bad left knee? I go Yeah, a little sore. He’s like, Okay, I got it. He’s, you know, he starts grabbing me and pinching me. And I’m like, okay, he’s like, Yeah, we gotta get this down. We’re gonna What do you eat? And then we walk through like, Yeah, eat egg goes there. I need carbs. He’s like you’re out of your mind. And he started walking through my diet and walking through kind of my training regimen and kind of really boiling it down and really kind of peeling back the onion layers to each segment of the process, and kind of swiping it all the way and starting from scratch and then kind of building a base and then from that day forward. Every year was a process until three years later, I won the MVP and it was a process of Building Blocks and building on top of each block and you know, getting that base of constant nutrition eating properly every single day, how does that make your body feel fueling your body properly, and then training properly and not being in the gym trying to see how much you can lift, but more functional exercises. Post postseason using the first two or three weeks to rehab injuries and stabilizer muscles that you really don’t feel like you use but you know, in fixing your, your, your shoulders, your your knees, things like that, that are gonna allow your quads and your chest and your back to really do what they’re supposed to be doing. And so, as I walked through, and kind of built on each summer, each year, each season, you know, I started feeling more comfortable learning how I needed to play, but but also more off the ice and learning how I needed to train learning how I needed to eat. And then from that base, I just kept getting better and better and kind of understanding. And using that same system and tool, I then started to implement similar processes into investing and how I manage my money and just kind of use you know, knocking everything down to the studs, and coming up with a core principle and kind of understanding how I got to where I was as a professional athlete, and then using a lot of those same principles and processes to kind of manage my money and manage kind of what I do post career and things of that nature.


Scott D Clary  06:44

It’s very it’s very interesting that it took you you said four years to get to the point where somebody came in and basically said, your fucking everything up right now like this, you’re not going to have longevity, if you if you stay down this path and and even four years in four years is a lot of time for somebody to be playing pro sports, right? That’s not like that’s not like, you know, a couple of weeks you’re in it, you’re you’re living it like I want to understand even a little bit back up a little bit. The the types of lessons and learnings that you got from joining the NHL, you are 18 Right? So you didn’t even go to college at that point. So walk me through young athletes, you know, the world’s your oyster, you you’re jumping into professional athletics you are you choosing to not go to college at this point. I guess that’s a conscious choice that you would have had to have made. I mean, the money, everything that I guess a little bit of the fame that comes with it. So it’s, it’s, it’s gonna mess with you to some extent. So walk me through those first four years before, it sounds like you started to get a little bit more grounded.


Chris Pronger  07:46

Yeah, I was, I was already somewhat grounded, it was I had to make a decision when I was 16, whether I was going to play junior hockey, or whether I was going to go the college route, my brother had already chosen the college route, and was playing D one at Bowling Green State University. And I was now at that fork in the road of having to decide which which route am I going to take. And I chose Junior just because, you know, I, the team that I signed with was going to pay for my schooling. So I kind of had the best of both worlds. If I didn’t turn pro and didn’t sign a contract, they were going to pay for my schooling. And then also, I just I needed the competition, I didn’t want to go back and play Junior B and kind of be stagnant and not push myself to continue to play against better competition. I really wanted to kind of keep challenging myself and and that I think ultimately helped me because they started I started playing junior against first round picks my first year I played against Eric Lindros, who was the first overall pick up a year earlier. And getting kinda was the next best you know the next thing on the block and you’re able to kind of compare yourself and be able to kind of get a gauge as to where you are how your how your skills kind of match up with the rest of the so called best young players in the game and so that gave me a good starting point foundation as to kind of where I fit in. visa vie you know the draft and you know, up and coming players we had a couple of high picks on our team as well so you know, you’re practicing and playing against those guys day in and day out, you’re gonna get better and and I needed to challenge myself and continue to my development curve and really push myself in that regard. So I chose that route. And all the while still fast tracking my education fast tracking my schooling so that I was going to graduate high school after my first year in junior but I still had another year that I had to play in junior so I took Take a economics class at Trent University in Peterborough. And then I took a psychology class just to, you know, keep learning and keep getting myself out of bed in the mornings, you know, you come off a, an early morning bus ride home, and you got to know you’re gonna get your sleep, but you need to kind of shake the cobwebs off and get moving. So, you know, for me, it was just, uh, trying to continue that learning process and keep the mind moving and get the body up at a normal time. And you know, so for me, it was a great learning experience. And it was more of the pro mindset we played 72 games, college you play like 2526 Whatever it is 32 So for me, it was just, you know, riding the bus, kind of putting a little added stress and whatnot on your body to kind of get it ready for that next level if you’re able to make that jump.


Scott D Clary  10:55

What we’re gonna talk about money later, but I’m just here I want to just talk about like sports and athletics, and maybe it’s something that you’ve noticed, I’m sure you have noticed this, but how come how can people that play play at such a high level pro sports, how come there’s so many leadership qualities that translate into business? I see it all the all the motivational speakers I listened to are like all football coaches, and then they all have these like great business lessons. Like, why is that? It seems to be a prerequisite.


Chris Pronger  11:24

Yeah, I think when you play sports, you know, there’s lots of leaders, lots of followers, but even though followers are learning from their leaders and learning, you know, as I went along in my career, I was always a an assistant captain or captain or what have you, a leader on on the teams and you’re always learning, you’re always taking pieces from, you know, early on in my heart for days, Pat Verbeek was our captain and learn how he, how he handles himself with the media, how he trains and prepares for games.


Scott D Clary  11:59

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Chris Pronger  17:16

is on and off the ice. I get to St. Louis and I’m watching all McInnes and how he handles the media, how he prepares for games and trains. And he’s ultimately the one who introduced me to the trainer. You know, as I move along, you know, I’m learning new things. And you know, not always being the intense rah, rah guy, but sitting back and kind of pulling somebody under under your wing and saying, hey, oh, is everything okay? Is there something going on off the ice, what’s going on with you, where you’re kind of investing in them, and getting an understanding as to what’s going on in their life, and not necessarily just saying, hey, you need to be better. And you know, I’m putting it all out there, you need to, you know, a lot of times, there’s a lot more under the surface. And as I got a little bit older, I learned that side of being a leader in that side of being a captain and, and so I think it’s inherent in sports that, you know, leadership matters, whether you look at all the different team sports, the teams that have great leadership, from management, to coaching to players, they’re able to create an accountability, scale and able to really push players to play at their best. And they’re also walking the walk, they’re doing their part, and leading by example, but they’re also the first guys in the gym. They’re also the hardest workers in practice. They’re leading by example. And then they’re also going out and producing and performing on the ice on the field, on the court, whatever it is. And that example then exudes into the rest of the team, like, Well, this guy played 30 minutes last night, he’s in the gym this morning. Well, I need to get in the gym more and, and those little things after a while they rub off on players. And then you get four guys in the gym, and you got six guys in the gym. And next thing you know, you got 12 guys in the gym, all training together all kinds of preparing and, and now you’ve got this, this mindset of excellence in this mindset that nothing’s gonna stop us. And it’s all from repetition. And it’s all from pushing yourselves and you hear, you know, legacy, and you hear these, you know, buzzwords talked about all the time, but, you know, how good do you want to be, you know, what does your legacy look like? How much are you willing to sacrifice in your finite amount of time in your sport, to be the best to be the best that you can be? And it’s a matter of kind of, you know, looking at it in a disciplined manner and going, Okay, well, I don’t need to do that. I want to do that. But what am I sacrificing to do that? And kind of extrapolating backwards and, you know, when I first met my trainer, we looked at we looked at my summer calendar, and he’s like, alright, I I only want you to drinking once a week. And I’m like, Okay, well, I gotta go to a wedding here. And I got to do this, and I’m going fishing. And I mean, I literally, you know, X those days that again, those are the days I’m gonna have my fun. And the other days, I was tight on my diet, I was training I was, you know, doing everything that I needed to do. And, you know, sometimes I was sitting on my dock, looking at everybody going by having a good time. But, you know, that’s the sacrifice and the discipline that it takes to be the best in your sport.


Scott D Clary  20:34

But you You killed it, you’re not just you’re not just like upper echelons, you know, arguably you’re like the top, top percentile, the top 1% When it comes to hockey, I mean, you’re you’re playing at the highest levels, but walk me maybe just even, like, look, look inside, like almost like a little bit of self awareness as to what allowed you because Yeah, you were strict, and you were regimented, but a lot of the guys were strict and regimented, and I’m sure a lot of the guys busted their ass. And a lot of guys, maybe some drank a little more than others, but I’m sure a lot of the guys like tried to really stay on their on their food and their nutrition and their diet and what what makes somebody great what made you know, I’ll say what made you great, what made you that upper echelon?


Chris Pronger  21:15

Well, I first and foremost, you got to have talent, you have to have an innate ability to play your respective sport. And then it’s, again, I think it’s discipline, and it’s a wherewithal to harness that ability and continue to get better. Every summer, when I went, went into my summer program. And you know, he worked on things in the offseason and whatnot, getting prepared for training camp. If I was staying status quo, I was falling behind. You know, neutral is not good, you need to keep going up and improving, whether it’s your fitness, whether it’s working on your weaknesses, and we all have them and turning those into a positive and just getting everything incrementally better. You know, and it was just a process of every single summer, working on something, whether it was my skating, whether it was you know, my body, whether it was injuries, you know, all those different things that as as the season’s over you evaluate how your season went, what you need to improve on, you know, how does your body feel? what can and can’t you do at this particular juncture in the summer, and then build out? Okay, these are, these are things that I need to do. And then you go to work. I mean, it’s that simple. It’s putting in the time and the effort, having a work ethic and understanding. You know, some people think they’re working hard until they start working next to somebody who is working hard. And it’s a lot of it is your mindset, a lot of this is, is up top. You know, I can’t there’s lots of times where you’re riding a bike, you’re like, God, I feel like I’m going hard. And then you’re like, you know, I you know, kind of like Jordan did, I’d use little slights and just to piss me off when I’m riding the bike and push myself harder. And, you know, use those things in the days where you maybe don’t feel their best or you don’t feel like working out. Oh, you know, this guy said this about me. Oh, he doesn’t he thinks I’m overrated. Alright, well, I’ll show you. All right, yeah. And you know, you use anything you can to kind of get you up to motivated to work harder, you know, finish your workout stronger and, and push yourself at the end. And, you know, as you get in better shape, you can push yourself harder and harder. And you know it, you need a trainer. And but you also need to be your own worst critic. And I think that also helped me was I was my own worst critic. I didn’t, I didn’t keep backpackers around me and have the entourage around you and giving you a you’re good, you’re good, you’re good. You know, I wanted to be the best that I could be an artist, my skill and talent. It took me a number of years early on in my career to kind of figure out how I needed to do that. And what steps I needed to take to start, you know, taking those next steps to being a great player and being consistent. You know, I think you see a lot of young players coming to these leagues, and they’re really good. And but they show flashes. And the hallmark of a good pro is showing up and being consistent each and every night. And that starts with practice that starts with training that starts and that builds the base for the games, the games are the easy part. It’s all the hard work and all the training and all the preparation before the game that actually makes the game easy. And so if you’re if you’re half asset and practice or you’re kind of not working very hard. At some point, it’s going to show up in the games. And all the seasons are so long that you know you’re playing 82 games are baseball 162 games, like that’s a long grind of a season and if you’re not prepared and disciplined over that long span plus the playoffs to Months of a long grind of playing potentially 20 A games. There’s a there’s a lot that you’re leaving out there for chance if you’re not preparing yourself for what may be at the end of the year.


Scott D Clary  25:13

Just want to take a second and thank the sponsor today’s episode HubSpot. Now, if you’re growing a business, you’ve got a ton on your plate, you need more leads, you need to close deals faster. And to get better insights. To connect with our customers. You need a CRM, one that works from day one gives your team’s a central source of truth and helps them do more faster. That’s why you need HubSpot. HubSpot is an all in one CRM platform that will accelerate your business growth without slowing down efficiency. With 1000s of customizable tools like add tracking, social media management and an AI content assistant. Your teams will have everything they need to convert prospects to qualified leads. Plus, you can customize your CRM with apps and integrations that meet the needs of your business at any stage. So as your business grows, HubSpot CRM grows with you get started for free. You know, you mentioned one thing that I thought was awesome, right? When you right when you started playing professionally, you said you were basically surrounding yourself with the best of the best. And I think that’s actually something that more people can take away like sports business. If you think you’re if you think you’re operating at an exceptionally high level, just put yourself around the best people in the world and you realize that you really aren’t where you have to be I remember even like a, like a hockey analogy, I remember guys that used to play like Junior A in high school and they’d be playing puck and they go to the ODR. And then like, a guy’s playing in the OHL would come back home for for like Christmas or something. And he’d step on the ice, and he danced around the guys that were playing. Like, it’s just like you don’t realize, and these guys thought they were hot shit the rest of the year. So you know, if you put yourself in situations like that, man, it’s eye opening, but then it pushes you like it really seriously pushes you. How did this happen? You know, as you as you grow in your career, obviously, money is a big part of a professional athletes career. But there’s also a lot of really scary stats about you know, 50% plus of athletes going broke and whatnot. And you you see it in hockey, I think you see it in every sport, to be quite honest, I think you have a fair amount of people that declare bankruptcy. And now I think hopefully it’s getting better. Because I think if I’m not mistaken, even like colleges are mandating financial education for some of their athletes and whatnot. But I thought that was very interesting, because you connected with, I guess it was Sam Parr who, speaking to you about Twitter, maybe walk through even how you got involved in Twitter. But then I also want to unpack that story that you told about all the finances and, and how you navigated your career. So that when you came out, you were still set, and that you could still have some money to play with. And you could still set yourself up for the rest of your life because a professional athlete their their careers, not forever. So walk me through that whole how I sort of discovered you were in the finance and business world. And what happened with that. And then we talked about money and everything that sort of go that went on in your career that sort of educated you and learned you as to as to how to invest how to how to manage your money and what you’re doing now.


Chris Pronger  28:19

Yeah, so I actually got on Twitter, friend of mine in Philly son actually works for Twitter. And I just decided to take the leap and Twitter, open my open my kimono up and get on Twitter. And so kind of set up an account that I kind of was dormant for a little while. And then I had met Sam, trying to remember how I met him. It might have been on Twitter, I might have been following somebody and there was an interaction or something. And then he’s he’s from St. Louis. So he used to come watch my games. And you know, we talked a couple of times, and then I was down in Austin, and he was down there and we just went out for dinner to catch up. And he was asking me about finances he obviously had a big liquidity events on is that his deal? And so we were just talking about finances and talking about, you know, what do you do with your money and, and all that kind of stuff? And, and he’s like, you know, we just started talking about athletes, and I would just like, walk him through it. You know, all the different things that happened to me and happen to people I know. And he’s like, man, you should do a threat on that. And I’m like, it’s like, yeah, you should do a thread. And I’m like, What’s that? You know, you helped me kind of piece it together. I kind of gave him some details. And then we just start talking and kind of piecing it together. And you know, he helped me put it together. And obviously he’s much better at it than I am.


Scott D Clary  29:50

And he’s done it more than he’s more than he’s done it more than once. Yeah, yeah, exactly.


Chris Pronger  29:55

So oh, he helped me kind of construct it and kind of walk through why How’d you do it, why you do it a certain way, et cetera. And then so that one went viral, and I was just talking about, you know, I think, and, and you know, you’re always gonna get back, but I’m always gonna get haters. And I’m like, I’m not, I’m not up here complaining, I’m just showing people, what happens, how fast things can get off the rails and things can go sideways. And, you know, whether you’re talking about an entourage or talking about, you know, buy into, you know, you get your first check, and you start spending and you’re buying a car and you’re buying a house and you’re buying this to buy, and then next thing, you know, you have no money to invest. You have no money to pay for the insurance you have no, you don’t know. And you know, and the biggest problem is, you don’t get taught any of this stuff in school, which is crazy to think that you don’t learn about how to open a checking account. How do you know what a mortgage is? You don’t you don’t know any of that stuff. So it’s kind of asinine to think, and then I walked through, you know, whether it’s, you know, divorces or, you know, poor investments, money, managers stealing money and throwing in shady deal, you know, runs the gamut. And, you know, on that’s some of the issues. And then there’s obviously, incredibly successful people that have gone on to great, huge success stories. So they’re, you know, you’re kind of getting this huge spectrum of people. And as I started walking them through it and talking about it, and you know, people don’t realize it, players do pay tax, and they, you know, there are all these things, you know, they pay an agent they pay, they pay for this, they pay for that, you know, and yes, are they well off 100% They are. But they don’t have a base, they don’t know they, a lot of times, you never know when it’s going to end. Yep, you’re 2223 years old thinking alright, I’m about to get my next huge payday, and you get hurt. Well, now you’ve set up a spending pattern that is just not feasible. You thought you were gonna sign a huge deal, and now you’re aren’t. And now you’ve got this money that you thought you were going to live off of what you’re gonna have fun with the first batch. You know, Shaq talks about when he signed his first contract in Orlando, I mean, he, he spent the whole thing in like two days. So it just, you’re not very well versed in, in money management and investing. And because you have no base, unless you come from a family where they’ve been investors and have done things, which very few people have, then then you’re really susceptible to listening to an agent listening to some guy you meet. Oh, I’m great at investing on this, and I need these vultures are, they’re all around, they’re always around, you know, there’s great agents, and then there’s shady agents. I mean, it’s no different than anything, like all walks of life, there’s, there’s good and bad. Yeah, and so getting a an understanding and a base point for it. I think just a lot of players, you never think the wall is gonna run dry, you always think there’s gonna be another check. I know, when I signed my last check in Philly, I was 34 years old, alright. And I knew it was gonna be my last contract. I’m like, Alright, I sat down with my financial advisor, I said, Okay, we need to get onto a path where, alright, that’s sustainable. Get your spending under control, whatever it is, you need to find that number that we can sustain that is going to be where we can keep investing, we can keep doing all the things that we need to do to grow, but also at the lifestyle that you want to live at. And so it’s interesting, there’s a lot of times players don’t, they don’t think about that. They don’t, they don’t think about it until it’s over. That’s what’s gonna say, you’re not changing how you spend your money. You’re not just not if you’re flying around on private jets, and you’re buying friggin Lamborghinis, and Rolls Royce and all these brilliant things that are three 400 grand, you’re doing that you’re gonna run through it real fast.


Scott D Clary  34:09

So a couple a couple of points. First thing was looking this up 70% of lotto winners lose their money or go bankrupt in five years. So that’s 70% of people that know they’re not going to get another paycheck burned through that money. So think about that for a second. So imagine now you’re making that kind of money. And then you think you’re gonna get another paycheck you think you’re gonna get and that’s not just a one time event. Now that’s ingrained in you over 15 years. So that’s messing with you. So you’re not you’re not thinking in the right mindset, obviously. Now, I think that you and here’s


Chris Pronger  34:41

something here’s the second point that and here’s the follow up to that. Your whole life. You’ve been solely focused on your sport solely focused on being the best that your sport that you can be. Most likely not focusing on your schooling as much as maybe you should. And Now you’re done. Now, one, you’ve solely immersed yourself in this sport you’ve spent every waking second grinding at your sport. And now what? And a lot of times your, your whole identity is built around your sport. There’s Scott, the hockey player. How you doing? It’s not Scott. It’s not scarred from Toronto. It’s not Scott from whatever. It’s got hockey player, your hockey player? No, no, I play hockey. But that’s not who I am. That’s not my sole person. So it it that and that we, the more you hear that over and over and over and over again, it tends to get ingrained in you that it’s so and so the football players so not now you think you’re just a football player? Oh, you’re just the dumb jock. You hear that over and over again. Now you’re just a dumb jock. And you hear these things over and over and over again. And people just didn’t like, Alright, maybe I am. Because you hear it all the time. And they’re unwilling to buck, the trend. And buck, what people’s perceptions are. And so, you know, you’re you’re kind of just going with the flow, as opposed to trying to break that cycle and being smart with your money and being smart with what you’re doing and how you’re kind of laying it all out there. You know, everybody wants to take care of their family. Everybody wants to take care of their friends. But at what cost? You know, it just in some of the stories you hear you’re like, I can’t believe that happened.


Scott D Clary  36:38

So out of the guys, you played, the guys you played puck with? What percentage do you think struggled to some extent? Guys, you’re close with?


Chris Pronger  36:49

Ah. Yeah. I don’t think a lot a lot of the guys that I played with, you know, some are some are struggling, there’s no question like, the problem is, you don’t hear about it. You know, because they’re embarrassed, because they don’t want to ask for help, because they don’t. They’re unwilling to kind of open themselves up for criticism. Because they made mistakes, they got into a risky deal, they thought they were going to hit the lottery, and, or they went to hit the lottery again. You know, you think, Oh, I just won the lottery, I made $10 million playing my sport, you should be creating a nest egg and building off of that, instead, you’re risking it all thinking you want to be LeBron James or Kevin Durant and doing all the stuff that they do. Meanwhile, they’re making 40 50 million bucks a year playing their sport, they can take those risks. And they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsements. People look at the cream cream cream of the crop, and think I want to be there, they have no chance of getting there. You have to be comfortable in who you are, and where you are, in order to be a sound investor, you know, and look for singles. And I tell people, I just want singles and doubles. And if a double turns into a homerun, great, but I just want singles and doubles. And the more you do that over and over again, as you know, you’re you’re gonna have a lot of success. And too often these people, they’re they’re constantly trying to hit homeruns why I have no idea. They’re not satisfied with whatever they’ve got. Or they see this guy flying around on a private jet and this guy with a friggin McLaren or whatever, or he’s on a yacht or whatever. I mean, and they’re, they’re jealous. So they start risking it all for no reason. And it’s really just the mindset and their mind playing games on him. So it’s understanding. And it’s hard for athletes to you know, you’re you’re competitive, you’re driven, you know, that you’re using that as a tool to push yourself but it’s, you’re pushing yourself that you’re taking a lot of risk that you don’t have to take. And it’s it’s hard for some guys to kind of get out of that competition and, you know, to always try and be better than the next guy and, and just being happy with where you’re at. And you know, there’s certainly lots of guys that struggle. There’s lots of success stories. There’s lots of guys that are struggling. I think you see that in all walks of life. You know, it’s just as an athlete, it’s front and center and it’s in the paper, it’s on TV, it’s whatever, it’s on social media. I mean, I see people all the time that, you know, had great jobs and made a lot of money and now they’re struggling for whatever reason, you know, whether they’re trying to keep up with the Joneses or you know, trying to be somebody Whether or not and, you know, I think that’s, you know, the biggest takeaway for me is, understanding who you are, and then being who you are and not worrying about, you know, live in this. Whatever dream they’re living over there and just live your own dream, live your own life. And, you know, I think that’s where a lot of players really struggle, because they’re, they’re trying to be somebody they’re not.


Scott D Clary  40:23

How did you set yourself up properly? Did you? Did you just get lucky with the right advice and mentors and financial advisors when you were still playing? Or what was your strategy?


Chris Pronger  40:36

Yeah, I I made my first year mistakes to


Scott D Clary  40:42

go to. Okay. Well, what would you give a good mistake, like, give a good mistake was always


Chris Pronger  40:49

poor investments. You know, like I, I, you know, bought a second why I don’t know why, but I’m on a second home thinking, Okay, well, I’m gonna, I’m in St. Louis, you know, it’d be a good, great place for my wife to take our kids in the wintertime, they’re young, they can go hang on the beach while we’re off for a week playing. And then I get traded. So now I’m like, well, that one wasn’t finished yet. So then I’m like, Alright, wait over here. I mean, you just, you don’t logically think things through. And then next thing, you know, you’re saddled with two properties that you don’t use, you’re like, okay, and you have your main one. And you’re like, Hey, why do I need all this crap, and then the market tanked. So you’re like, Okay, great. And it just you’re, you know, you’re, you’re not paying it, you don’t First off, you’re not paying attention, all that stuff. Because that’s not your job, you’re focused on your job, and you’re just doing things. without really looking at the, with unintended consequences, and then you’re not, you’re not realizing how deep you’re into it, you know, and, you know, you’re thinking, Alright, this looks like a great idea, you know, you’re, you know, you see some of these deals, and they’re just totally bloated, with fees, and all kinds of stuff, basically trying to take advantage of you. You know, it’s just some sometimes it just you make mistakes, you know, and I, I tell my financial guy, I will tell you listen, out of those mistakes, and out of that money that was lost, came a really good guidelines for what we want to invest in. And then guidelines for who we don’t want to invest with. And as you make those mistakes, you’re able to really understand what good deals look like, and what bad deals look like, and ones that are in your wheelhouse and other ones that they don’t want, they may be homeruns. But they could just as easily go to zero. And you have to kind of be willing to you know, let those potential Grand Slams go for the, you know, singles and doubles that, you know, you’re just going to kind of chip away, chip away chip away, because you don’t have to, you don’t have to hit the home run if it if it happens, great. But the premise around the investment is that it’s not going to be a home run, it’s going to be a really good deal. And you’re going to make money, wealth preservation, versus crazy risk for no apparent reason whatsoever. And so, you know, once once you make those mistakes, you learn real quick, okay, I don’t like that feeling. And I’m not a big gambler. I learned I learned early on when I was a kid, I started playing in between and I hit the post that I lost the crapload of money, I’m like, as a kid, and I’m like, I’m not I’m not a gambler that I don’t like this. So I just you know what, I learned my lesson. Alright, that was my, that was my investing, gambling story and I’m like, I’m done. I’m not doing that no more. So


Scott D Clary  43:57

So what’s the lesson that you learned? So when when you look at when you look at investments now, who do you invest in? What’s safe for you? What do you what do you try and focus on give it obviously, this is no


Chris Pronger  44:06

parameters and guidelines, parameters or guidelines would be a character of the people structure of the deal. Leverage you know, upside versus downside, you know, what’s the what’s the risk reward look like? You know, there’s there’s a number of factors but but a lot of it Wales down to the character of the dealmaker, and, and then, you know, what, what the risk profile looks like visa vie, whether it’s leverage, you know, what the sector is, what type of investment it is, and kind of really, anything that doesn’t fit into inside those guardrails. I just, I just get rid of them. Like I’m not interested in


Scott D Clary  44:55

a success story listeners, Scott here, just want to give a shout out to the sponsor of today’s episode. The eBay for business podcast, this is a resource that every entrepreneur should be tapping into. I don’t take this lightly. I’m a podcaster, I have a high level of scrutiny for the other podcast that I tell people to go check out. But this is a good one, whether you’re starting out or you’re looking to grow your existing business, this podcast is your golden ticket. It’s packed full of insider knowledge on how to start run scale, a business on eBay, with firsthand insights from eBay employees on product launches and campaigns. But it’s not just about eBay. It dives into external factors affecting your business, like tax reporting, marketing, sales, all the stuff that you’re going to have to figure out to sell stuff on eBay, effectively build a business on eBay effectively, what sets it apart, they bring on eBay executives and successful sellers who’ve been there done that and are eager to share their experiences, advice and tips. If you have a burning question. They’re q&a sessions tackles seller submitted inquiries, all types of questions. So you’re always in the loop. So this is what you got to do. Don’t miss out on this go to source for all things. eBay, tune in to the eBay for business podcast weekly. Wherever you get your podcasts, it’s time to take your business to the next level with insights from those who’ve already done it. Are you are you more personally invested in like things that are more early stage? Or do you like doing more profitable cash flowing later stage get a piece of stock does all these franchises and whatnot, right?


Chris Pronger  46:33

Yeah. Yeah, he’s got a little bit more money. And I do.


Scott D Clary  46:37

Listen, please the throne level. It’s all good. That’s right.


Chris Pronger  46:40

I was just saying that what you got to know. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, more cash flowing more. less risky. In all, you know, there’s, there’s a time and a place for venture capital and for risky, you gotta you got to understand you got your buckets, and you got to use those buckets appropriately. I mean, it’s not like you don’t do any risky stuff. But you try to look at the tranches and how big the buckets are. And then you allocate them accordingly. And mill, obviously, if you’re talking venture, that’s crazy risky, but it is a reward. So kind of picking and choosing.


Scott D Clary  47:24

So okay, so now, you know, in your post player career, obviously, you you probably had some really hard investment lessons, but you learned from them, which is allowed you to have probably some successful investments now, but you’re still you know, you’re still trying to branch out into what you’re working on. So when you look at a player’s posts, post professional career, you have investing, you’re building a business now, is there a reason why you’re choosing to do that? Why that category? What why travel business? And of all things? What was the logic behind that? Because obviously, you only have so many hours in a day. Startups aren’t easy, you know?


Chris Pronger  47:58

That’s correct. Yes. Yeah, actually, it was my wife’s passion project and something that she’s loved traveling her whole life, her dad, the genesis of the company basically started started around, when she was six years old, her dad was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, was given a 10% chance to live and with that, took, took the family on a European vacation that first summer, when the kids got out school, and he went off chemo and radiation to go over on the trip. She got to see him full of life and adventure and happy and, you know, just excited to be around the family and see these new new places. And so she got from a young six year old mind kind of looked at it like Oh, my God, traveling great, my dad’s healthy, you know, all these different things, not really knowing what was going on behind the scenes. And then they got home from that. And he got back on chemo and radiation was just getting pounded. And all the while was planning the next trip to Asia. And it’s funny, this is like early 80s He’s planning his next trip to Asia. And we wanted to marry Eastern medicine and Western medicine and wanted to learn more about Transcendental Meditation and acupuncture and holistic healing methods. And you know, that was pretty forward thinking in the early 80s When I think all that stuff was really thought of to be kind of voodoo and and, you know, crazy juju, but you know, they went over to Asia. he immersed himself in the jungle for two or three weeks at a time learning all those things and he would go off and see the sights and sounds and lo and behold, all the while fighting for his life, then he got back home. You know, got a call from his doctor, Bill I can. So radical new surgery I’m going to save your life. Uh, you know, had the surgery and two years later, so four years in was given a clean, clean bill of health and never had cancer again. Wow. So she, she got to see what travel could do for you could do for your mind, you know, Mind Body Spirit, and really kind of, you know, use travel as a tool for health and wellness and kind of bringing the family together all the different things that they use it for, you know, early in her life. And so to fast forward, you know, they traveled a lot. And then to fast forward when I met her, I was in the peak of my career, as we just discussed training and eating and doing all the things that I did in the summertime, she would ask me, like, why, why don’t you travel? Why don’t you go anywhere? I’m like, I can’t go, where am I gonna go? There’s no, I don’t want to eat the food that they cook, I got to work out I got to do all these things. He’s like, Well, let me research that she started researching places, figuring out talking to shaft talking to, you know, finding out okay, what kind of gym and, you know, early 2000s The gym was like the broom closet over there. There really wasn’t a whole lot to it. Like it is now with the size of these gyms at some of these properties now, but so she was kind of researching, is there a gym nearby? We can you know, can we get? Can we get him in did all these things. And so, you know, it’s a small world, and you know, athletics is even smaller. So, you know, people hear about, you know, what you did in the summer and hear about your travels and things like that. And the trust factor of you know, people started asking her, you know, where did you guys go? How did you source it, so she started helping people that way. And, you know, he friends and friends and etc. And then when we got to Philly, at the end of my career, social media is kicking off, and she posts on her private little Instagram account pictures of our travels and things. And again, more and more and more people that we knew actors and athletes, whatever, we’re asking her, Hey, where did you go just source it, you know, that kind of stuff. And so, you know, it started kind of clicking in her brain, right? You know, we got 20 people asking me and I’m like, you should maybe turn that into a business. But I got her, her mom got breast cancer. And unfortunately, her dad had a debilitating stroke. And so we had three young kids at home. So from a timing perspective, it wasn’t right. And then we get back home here to St. Louis. Unfortunately, your dad passed away, but our our mom’s good. I’m good. Kids are getting older, my oldest starts driving and that kind of is the precursor to her like, alright, I can now start kind of working on this, putting some of the pieces together. At the time, I was working with the Florida Panthers, a senior adviser to the GM. And so I was helping her just make some connections and you know, look at the financials and kind of that stuff. And, you know, as she started building it out, I was helping her and I’m like, I kind of liked this. It’s it’s interesting, the hospitality space, everybody’s happy. Yeah, it’s not like sports are everybody’s pissed off? Yeah, so it was, to me, it was pretty interesting. And, you know, so many great people and so many great stories, amazing destinations. And I was like, this is pretty cool. So I, you know, quit quit my job there and started working with her and, you know, working on my investment stuff, but, you know, working on this business, while inspired travels, and, you know, just trying to, you know, start it from scratch and kind of build it up. And of course, you know, right, as we start getting going, and you don’t get about a year into it, COVID hits and and that pose a few new issues. And so it was, you know, it was interesting time, but it was it has allowed me to get a better perspective on a small business, but be building a business, what it what it takes a from a time commitment, B from, you know, all the nuance that that’s involved in, in a business, even, you know, at this scale and size it there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of things that that can happen that can derail the process. So it’s been a great learning experience and something that we’re continuing to work on.


Scott D Clary  54:23

And you know, you had your investment criteria and how you jump into something, it’s like you you go into a you understand it, you unpack it, you sort of break it down to its bare bones, kind of like what that trainer did to you and your fourth year. Now, when you’re building a business, was there any criteria that you applied against the business some some way that you want to build this business and criteria for the people you hire, the way you scale? What was like the biggest learning that has had the biggest impact on this basically startup that you’re building out?


Chris Pronger  54:52

Yeah, I think more or less, create core values that that are going to be you know, pillars of our who we are what our business is all about. You know, I think integrity is critical, especially in this business with the information that you’re handling. Privacy is critical, I was very private, when I was a player and didn’t like people knowing where I was going, what I was doing what I was doing, you know, we don’t talk about clients, we don’t discuss what goes on, you know, outside of the office. You know, I think philanthropy has always been a big part of, you know, who I am and who we are as a family and giving back. And so we have, you know, we make sure we give money to a couple of different causes here, in St. Louis, but but, you know, their reach is global. And so we’re able to, you know, invest back into the greater community, if you will, and try to be a beacon of hope in whatever way we can. And, you know, I think as you look at a business, it’s its character, its integrity, its hard work. You know, I think that’s something that my wife knew going into it with me is that if, if I say, I’m going to do it, then I’m doing it. And it’s, it’s, I’m not dipping a toe in it is going to be both feet falling in. And so, you know, it’s putting the time and effort in a to learn the business, and understand the business and then, you know, find ways that you can apply other skill sets that you might have into the business that are going to give you a leg up and allow you the opportunity to excel and, and grow and build your business to higher level.


Scott D Clary  56:49

If you’re going to, if you’re going to speak to an entrepreneur, that that’s starting something, what would be the one tip or piece of advice that you’d give them


Chris Pronger  56:57

don’t don’t do it in the service industry during a pandemic.


Scott D Clary  57:02

That’s good advice.


Chris Pronger  57:05

I would just say like there’s a lot of back office stuff you know, you think I want to do this business, it’s going to be cut and dry and a lot of it is cut and dried but the from the taxes to the reporting to the you know, the back office stuff that a lot of people don’t take the time to learn and understand that that can hit you all at once and can you know, take down and takes down a lot of businesses at times and



prepare for it


Chris Pronger  57:41

and get ready be prepared. You know, if you’re going to do something immerse yourself in it, understand it and really kind of model it after how you how you would want a business to be you know, as I look at it, you know, I want people like myself as clients so how would I How would I want to be contacted out what would How would I want to be treated How would I you know, and reverse engineered from there, how do you get to that point?


Scott D Clary  58:12

Very smart. Okay, wrapping this up, I just want to get all the socials and where people can go check a well inspired go check out your social connect with you and then a lot I have one question I asked every guest before we wrap up, but first Okay, where are we going to send people so website socials? Where do you want a good question?


Chris Pronger  58:28

At Chris Pronger on Twitter? I gotta look here it is at the Chris Pronger on Instagram. At Chris Pronger on Twitter at well inspired travels on Instagram. And and then well inspired Beautiful Okay, those are all the handles for our stuff.


Scott D Clary  58:55

Last question. So after your career as a player as an investor now a business owner entrepreneur, what does success mean to you?


Chris Pronger  59:08

Success to me is waking up every day excited to go in and see what the day is gonna bring. There’s always something new to work on always something new to see, especially in this travel business that we’re in is there’s always something interesting every day and you know getting to talk to people getting out of my comfort zone. I was always an introvert when I as a youngster and now I’ve tried to turn the page on that and be be be an introvert extrovert and try to you know, learn talking to people and I’m much more at ease talking to people than I certainly was when I played I hated talking to people. And you know you have to challenge yourself you have to get out of your comfort zone and I you know I think a lot of people struggle with a passion, because inside of that passion is a fear. And, you know, this was a passion of mine. I’m like, You know what? cold call people. I’ll talk to people all the time. I mean, you know, rejections rejection, whatever now, it doesn’t matter.


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