Now that the age barrier has been shattered and execs are coming from all walks of life, maybe it’s time our resident prospect expert got his chance to helm a major junior franchise…or not.
The Val-d’Or Foreurs of the Quebec League were the most surprising entry in this year’s Memorial Cup; a small-market team with a handful of NHL prospects, but certainly not packed with marquee names. Yet here they are, two games away from a national championship. As detailed in Sunaya Sapurji’s story for Yahoo! Sports, part of the success can be attributed to 30-year-old GM Alexandre Rouleau, who was just 28 when he got the job. Kyle Dubas was actually 25 when the Ontario League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds gave him the keys in 2011 and his team won the division this season.
So maybe it’s time I got a shot at running a team.
Oh sure, in practical terms, I have no experience in the front office of a hockey operation. But neither did Rouleau – he was a former player and part of the new ownership group when his fellow buyers asked him to take over the GM duties. Dubas was a player agent when the Hounds hired him, though he had been a towel boy and scout for the team before that. At 34, I’m a couple years older than those guys. Listen up, owners: Here’s what I bring to the table.
I Know A Lot About Hockey
It’s all I do during the day: Just sit at my desk or at the rink and observe and analyze. As a prospect expert, I’ve seen kids go from minor midget to the OHL and become stars – Dubas’ own Darnell Nurse being a prime example. I also know that I don’t know a lot about hockey, which is why I’m constantly talking to other people in the industry with more experience. Since I know nothing about billets, budgets, signing deadlines or even fax machines, I will surround myself with those who do, while still bringing an unwavering confidence to my hockey decisions.
I Have Contacts
You want press for the team? I can get it for you, since I work with these people (I’d like to think The Hockey News would at least ‘plus’ me in the next issue’s Plus-Minus after I was hired). I know what reporters need to get their coverage and I also know their nasty little tricks, so I’ll keep my kids protected.
I also know a lot of player agents and most of them like me (Well, I think they like me. They’re nice to my face, at least). This is key, because agents can bring important players to our team and take a lot of the guesswork out of the CHL Import Draft, where the top Europeans are selected.
I Will Be the Face of the Franchise
Ask people who sit near me: I can talk. And I will stand up for our team whenever my former friends in the press come calling. And none of this “lower-body soreness” business; we’re going to be honest. Team on a losing streak? I’ll create a diversion that would make Brian Burke slow-clap in appreciation. And I’ve been writing Jersey Hound at the magazine for years, so I definitely have some concepts for throwbacks and new hats.
Finally, How Bad Could I Be?
Even if I’m an utter failure, it’s junior hockey: Totally cyclical and easy to fix. The London Knights won three games in 1995-96, then 40 games two seasons later. As long as I get a decent draft slot to kick things off, I should be fine. And if I’m not, consider it a two-year experiment that cost you a six-figure salary (I assume?) but got your team some headlines. And if we win the Memorial Cup, you look like a genius.