Sedins net high scores in leadership study

Casually watching a Vancouver Canucks game in 2009, a University of Victoria leadership studies expert’s interest was piqued by Henrik and Daniel Sedin’s style of play. A subsequent three-year case study confirms Dr. Carolyn Crippen’s theory that the Swedish-born stars exemplify attributes that make them ideal role models for both young athletes and adults.

Crippen—a professor in the faculty of education with a particular interest in a philosophy known as servant-leadership, which focuses on achieving the greater good by serving the needs of followers—says the Sedins stood out for their civil, respectful approach to their teammates, coaches, opponents and officials.

“I was initially a skeptic of the philosophy existing in professional hockey, but the evidence is overwhelming that both Daniel and Henrik Sedin demonstrate the core principles that define servant-leadership,” says Crippen.

Through deliberate and intense observations of the Sedins during games and in media coverage over the course of three years, culminating with a 75-minute interview, Crippen evaluated how well the twins measure up to the 21 competencies of servant-leadership. She found the twins embody all 21 almost completely, a nearly unheard of “gold standard” of the philosophy.

Crippen says with increasing emphasis through all levels of hockey on safety, leadership and reducing violence, the Sedins could be perfect elite-level role models for achieving success through caring and supportive approaches. Her research was published today in the leading physical and health education periodical PHEnex. A second piece is to be published by the International Journal of Servant Leadership.

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Media contacts

>Dr. Carolyn Crippen (Dept. of Educational Psychology & Leadership Studies) at 250-721-7825 or

Kim Westad (UVic Communications & Marketing) at 250-721-6246 or

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Keywords: leadership, philosophy

People: Carolyn Crippen

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