Life, Luck and Mentors

Life is sometimes difficult to navigate. But if you are lucky, like my friend and hockey coach/dad Bill Cahill, you may meet someone along the way to help you define and reach your goals. These people often instill values in you that you will want to pass down to your children. 

That someone for Cahill is Gordon “Pete” Sears.

Cahill continues to pass down many of the lessons he learned from the Olympic goaltender. 

“When I started playing hockey at age 7, I had big plans to be the next Bobby Orr,” Cahill recalled. “I heard there was this guy who played goalie at our local college and was on the Olympic team for the 1972 Games. He decided to make Oswego, N.Y., his home and started coaching.”   

Cahill attended Sears’ free summer off-ice workouts. Sears and those practices taught Cahill that his body had no limits. He could endure more pain than he imagined and that he could always do “one more” rep. 

Although he was a multi-sport athlete in high school and college, Sears often talked about hockey players like they were from a different planet and how you could give a hockey player any task in life and they will figure out a way to get it done.  

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Peter Sears

“He is right,” says Cahill. “Hockey people have a certain grit or toughness you don’t see in most. It is something I have tried to pass on to players over the years, including my daughter, Monica, who was on teams I’ve coached.  I thank Pete for that mindset, and hopefully I’ve instilled in others the confidence he gave me. Pete’s biggest point of emphasis was always about mental and physical preparation.  

“‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,’ was one of Pete’s favorite sayings. More than catchy phrases, they became a way of life.”

Sears believed conditioning and guts could level the playing field against a team with a higher collective skill set.

More important, he became one of those humans in life that makes you want to be a better person.

“If you joined the military and found yourself alone in a foxhole at night, Pete’s teachings of life and toughness would get you through,” said Cahill. “He is also the guy you would want in that foxhole with you, and to this day he is always there for former players in any way we need him.”

Sears was in foxholes, as he served in Vietnam before he played for the 1972 Olympic Team.   

“I have hundreds of memories and stories in my 40-plus-year friendship with Pete,” Cahill concluded.  “I was blessed with wonderful parents and doubly fortunate to have had a mentor like Peter Sears who shared his knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration. I could not be more thankful for his influence and friendship.”  



Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
Jason Robertson
Tage Thompson
Matthew Tkachuk
Patrick Kane
Total votes: 395