By Kristen Lipscombe
When Steffany Hanlen was 25 years old, she hadnâ€™t even started her successful skating development company, but you certainly couldnâ€™t tell from her dogged determination â€“ or her business card.
â€œWhen I decided I was going to do this, I made up a business card that said, â€˜Steffany Hanlen, world-class skating instruction for seriously motivated hockey players,â€™ â€ Hanlen recalls with a chuckle of her early entrepreneurial creativity, a small example of the innovative thinking that has helped build Quantum Speedâ„¢ into the one-of-a-kind company it is today.
The â€œkickerâ€ 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? â€œ â€˜By referral only.â€™ â€
â€œI only work with high-end people. I only work with committed people,â€ Hanlen would tell those who inquired, perhaps with a look of questioning curiosity. But that doesnâ€™t just mean elite athletes, she would emphasize in her business pitch. â€œDo you know how many committed recreational players there are? Do you know how many motivated Peewees there are â€“ tons!
â€œI just want to work with motivated ones,â€ 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. â€œI just didnâ€™t want to be told I couldnâ€™t do it, and Iâ€™m the same way in sport â€¦ like, (thatâ€™s) my puck!â€
Whether her eyes are on the puck, or on creating what she calls â€œthe only true hockey development company in North America, maybe the world,â€ 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.
â€œI have unbelievable parents,â€ Hanlen says of the positive example set for her in childhood. â€œThe standards they set for me and my brother were pretty amazing â€¦ One of the things they did teach us, is that you donâ€™t put anybody on a pedestal; donâ€™t think anybody is better than you.â€
â€œIt was the assumption we would just do it,â€ she adds. â€œYou donâ€™t quit something that you start.â€
Hanlen continues to set those high standards for herself, and expects the same from her staff members and students at Quantum Speedâ„¢, 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 Speedâ„¢, now run by its tenacious founder, general manager Vanessa Hettinger and an all-star team of elite skating instructors, to hone their skills?
â€œBecause it works,â€ Hanlen says matter-of-factly. â€œIâ€™m not telling them to drink the Kool-Aid and say theyâ€™re going to get faster. Iâ€™m saying, if you actually do this with your body and activate these muscles in this order, you WILL skate faster â€“ itâ€™s science. â€œI didnâ€™t make up science; I just made up drills that are based on science.â€
Hanlen, who has a Bachelor of Physical Education with majors in coaching, conditioning and athletic training, has used her scientific knowledge to create a â€œplayer-centricâ€ system that measures on-ice results and creates programs specific to the needs of clients.
"Quantum Speed â€“ it means the smallest possible change in your technique to get the largest, the biggest, the most massive amount of speed increases,â€ she explains. â€œItâ€™s based on quantum mechanics, quantum physics conversations.â€
Which is exactly why professional hockey organizations, including the NHLâ€™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.
â€œThey 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 doesnâ€™t, then they donâ€™t,â€ Hanlen says. â€œItâ€™s their choice.â€
The science behind Quantum Speedâ„¢, 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.
â€œThis is new school power skating,â€ she says with a laugh, recalling how a student once described Quantum Speedâ„¢. 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. â€œThis is a legacy program. This is going to change hockey.â€
While creating and growing Quantum Speedâ„¢ has become Hanlenâ€™s own proud and personal â€œStanley Cup,â€ 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.
â€œFigure out who you are, what you stand for, what youâ€™re willing to put up with, and then just donâ€™t give up,â€ she says. Itâ€™s not about what you do; itâ€™s about who you are. Whatâ€™s your unique gift?â€