By Kristen Lipscombe
When Steffany Hanlen was 25 years old, she hadn’t even started her successful skating development company, but you certainly couldn’t tell from her dogged determination – or her business card.
“When I decided I was going to do this, I made up a business card that said, ‘Steffany Hanlen, world-class skating instruction for seriously motivated hockey players,’ ” Hanlen recalls with a chuckle of her early entrepreneurial creativity, a small example of the innovative thinking that has helped build Quantum Speed™ into the one-of-a-kind company it is today.
The “kicker” on that tell-tale business card she handed out across Edmonton, Alta., at arenas, skate shops, sport stores and anyone else who showed the slightest interest more than two decades ago? “ ‘By referral only.’ ”
“I only work with high-end people. I only work with committed people,” Hanlen would tell those who inquired, perhaps with a look of questioning curiosity. But that doesn’t just mean elite athletes, she would emphasize in her business pitch. “Do you know how many committed recreational players there are? Do you know how many motivated Peewees there are – tons!
“I just want to work with motivated ones,” she would affirm, oozing that same motivation she looks for in her on-ice clients, and the confidence that would normally belong to a very experienced businesswoman, such as the one she is now. “I just didn’t want to be told I couldn’t do it, and I’m the same way in sport … like, (that’s) my puck!”
Whether her eyes are on the puck, or on creating what she calls “the only true hockey development company in North America, maybe the world,” Hanlen has always set goals for herself, and has always fought her way through any obstacles until she has reached them, only to eagerly move on to the next challenge.
“I have unbelievable parents,” Hanlen says of the positive example set for her in childhood. “The standards they set for me and my brother were pretty amazing … One of the things they did teach us, is that you don’t put anybody on a pedestal; don’t think anybody is better than you.”
“It was the assumption we would just do it,” she adds. “You don’t quit something that you start.”
Hanlen continues to set those high standards for herself, and expects the same from her staff members and students at Quantum Speed™, which is based out of Edmonton but has a continually expanding reach that ranges across provinces and borders, as well as from minor Bantam hockey players to NHL professionals.
So why are skaters of all skill levels coming to Quantum Speed™, now run by its tenacious founder, general manager Vanessa Hettinger and an all-star team of elite skating instructors, to hone their skills?
“Because it works,” Hanlen says matter-of-factly. “I’m not telling them to drink the Kool-Aid and say they’re going to get faster. I’m saying, if you actually do this with your body and activate these muscles in this order, you WILL skate faster – it’s science. “I didn’t make up science; I just made up drills that are based on science.”
Hanlen, who has a Bachelor of Physical Education with majors in coaching, conditioning and athletic training, has used her scientific knowledge to create a “player-centric” system that measures on-ice results and creates programs specific to the needs of clients.
"Quantum Speed – it means the smallest possible change in your technique to get the largest, the biggest, the most massive amount of speed increases,” she explains. “It’s based on quantum mechanics, quantum physics conversations.”
Which is exactly why professional hockey organizations, including the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, as well as WHL teams such as the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Vancouver Giants, come to Hanlen and her company to improve their game.
“They get to experience it, and when they experience it, they decide whether it works for them or not, and if it works, they keep coming back and if it doesn’t, then they don’t,” Hanlen says. “It’s their choice.”
The science behind Quantum Speed™, the family atmosphere Hanlen instils within her business and the fact that about 95 per cent of the skills and drills are completely original, are just some of what make this skating development company different than anything else out there.
“This is new school power skating,” she says with a laugh, recalling how a student once described Quantum Speed™. And as principal of that school, Hanlen has created a following of convinced students and a group of skating instructors who are dedicated to passing her lessons on. “This is a legacy program. This is going to change hockey.”
While creating and growing Quantum Speed™ has become Hanlen’s own proud and personal “Stanley Cup,” she carries that same dogged determination, written so clearly on her business card, over into all aspects of her life, whether leading her now-thriving business, working as a personal coach or enjoying time with family and friends.
“Figure out who you are, what you stand for, what you’re willing to put up with, and then just don’t give up,” she says. It’s not about what you do; it’s about who you are. What’s your unique gift?”