MONTREAL – Scott Mellanby wasn’t happy as a coach and couldn’t resist when the chance came up to work for the team he loved as a child.
Mellanby was announced Monday as director of player personnel for the Montreal Canadiens, as new general manager Marc Bergevin continued to rebuild the club’s management team.
The announcement followed the hiring on Friday of management veteran Rick Dudley as assistant general manager and the extension of the contract of assistant GM Larry Carriere, a holdover from former GM Pierre Gauthier’s administration.
Mellanby, a Montreal native, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. He found that coaching is not in his blood.
“Coaching is something you have to have a passion for because of the day-to-day grind,” he said on a conference call from his home in St. Paul, Minn. “The management side allows you have a more even keel.
“You can control your schedule more. In coaching, you’re never home.”
Mellanby played 21 NHL seasons as a big, scoring forward until he retired after the 2006-07 season.
Before trying his hand at coaching, he spent a year as an advisor to the general manager and another as a pro scout, both under Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gilles.
Bergevin has opted to have a specific person in charge of player personnel, while previously the work was only part of Carriere’s job title.
Mellanby will oversee players on the NHL club, in the minor league system and prospects in junior leagues and in Europe. He will be part of the group making decisions on trades, free agents and other acquisitions.
“Scott has an impressive background and a commanding knowledge of the league, having played for 21 seasons in the NHL before holding various management positions over the last four years,” Bergevin said in a statement. “Scott is known for his character and his leadership, which made him a great team captain during six seasons with the Florida Panthers and the Atlanta Thrashers.
“He has extensive knowledge of the game, is well respected in the hockey circles and will become an important asset for our organization.”
Mellanby said that when his friend and former teammate Bergevin asked St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong for permission to talk, he jumped at the chance.
“What’s not intriguing?” Mellanby said. “It’s the Montreal Canadiens, the greatest franchise in our sport.
“Plus I always thought about working with Marc. My contract was expiring and I wasn’t thrilled about coaching. It all came together.”
He said Montreal was the only team he talked to about a job.
Mellanby played 1,431 NHL games, amassing 364 goals and 476 assists as well as 2,479 penalty minutes. He also played 136 playoff games with 24 goals, 29 assists.
The son of former Hockey Night in Canada executive producer Ralph Mellanby spent the first six years of his life in Montreal before the family moved to Toronto, but he said he remained a Canadiens fan.
“I grew up idolizing the Canadiens, Guy Lafleur in particular,” he said. “I referred to (broadcaster) Dick Irvin as my uncle while growing up.”
With the front office taking shape, Bergevin still needs to decide on a head coach to replace former interim bench boss Randy Cunneyworth.