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 demand from coast to coast and internationally as a motivational speaker, spokesperson, marketing and sales strategist, and master storyteller. He is president of Gold Medal Strategies, a Boston-area based 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, John Hancock, Next Financial, Time Inc., Walt Disney, 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 miraculous, how historic, was the victory? Consider that as the 20th century came to a close, most major media sports polls selected what happened two decades prior on an ice rink in upstate New York as the greatest sports achievement 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.”
The Olympic victory came at a time when the United States needed good news and something to lift its spirits. America had 52 hostages in Iran, and the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan to put the Cold War on a deep freeze. Inflation was high and there was a shortage of oil for our cars, industries, and homes. The USA was down in spirit, in a societal funk.
What happened at Lake Placid got us cheering and on our feet. We felt good about ourselves.
Following the Olympic Games, Jim Craig played in the NHL where he started for the Atlanta Flames, Minnesota North Stars, and Boston Bruins. An injury 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 State 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 (later Valassis Communications), owned by Australian media magnet Kerry Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings and the largest freestanding newspaper insert company in the U.S. While with Valassis, Jim took an operating unit that had $300,000 in annual sales and over a 10 year period built it to unit that did $50 million in annual sales, the top sales-producing division of the corporation.
Jim left Valassis in 2005 to become president of Hat Trick Group (www.hattrickgroup.com), a company that creates and produces promotions, incentive marketing, and custom premium programs and products. Under his stewardship and guidance, Hat Trick Group increased sales, added clients, and introduced new products and services.
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 as growing roster of clients all receiving premium value and competitive advantage.
Among the many sales and marketing awards that Jim has garnered are “Salesman of the Year” from the Marketing Corporation of America and Valassis Communications.
Jim has volunteered for several years as a youth hockey coach and is active with many philanthropic organizations and causes. He 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.
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