Careers in Hockey: A collection of resources
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11-10-2008, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Nova Scotia
There comes a point in everyoneís life when it hits you that you need to figure out what youíre doing with yourself. Then, that realization fades as you log onto HFBoards to check and see if that third-line forward your team called up last week will be in the lineup tonight.
Eventually, you make the connection between your love of hockey and your need to get a life: maybe I could get paid by working in hockey!
So you want to work in the wild world of Hockey?
First things first, I must admit that I donít make my living from working in hockey, so I am really in no place to give advice. Take any of this guidance with a grain of salt. It is merely meant to be a guide path of knowledge accumulated and shared on the message board and in other sources over the years.
Ignoring the obvious connections of how to work in hockey as a player, a coach, a broadcaster, a trainer, a team doctor and the ilk, the first thing to know is that a hockey team is a business and like any other business, there are a number of occupations that are the same no matter if it is a toy company, an insurance firm or a hockey team.
This are often the jobs advertised on NHL.com, ranging from positions in the marketing department, public relations, information technology and finance and accounting. Through those job postings on NHL.com, youíll also find more sport specific jobs like ticket sales, account representatives and things like mascots and fan relations.
For the most part, these jobs have the same requirements and offer the same day-to-day schedule as they would in a conventional office.
Conventional office? Shmentional office!
The usual question is how to get a job in the hockey operations portion of a team. From an agent to a GM to a scout, the hockey operations are where most of the interest lies.
An agent needs to have a Law background, specifically contract and sports law. A background in Business doesnít hurt either.
Someone in hockey management would also benefit from a legal and business background.
At the beginning of this journey (and if you're just entering university, you're definitely at the beginning), you don't want to get too specialized too soon, focusing on tailoring yourself toward one particular job or not being able to find employment later on if your dream doesn't pan out.
You might have heard of Sports Management WorldWide, a company that offers courses targeted toward sport and athlete management. I canít vouch for their courses either way, as I have no experience in them (check the links at the bottom for some information from those who did take the courses), however, I would advise that if you do take them, do so as supplemental to your regular education, not in any way replacing education. These courses teach skills, but are certainly not the be all and end all. However, it might be worthwhile to explore simply based on the connections that the company claims to have. In the same breath, it would also be worthwhile to look at sport management and recreation management courses while you are at university.
But you didnít mention scouting!
Scouting is a popular one because who doesn't want to get paid for watching hockey. It doesn't fit with the idea of a university education, but I would recommend making sure your knowledge of the game is top notch. Take a few coaching courses, things like that. Also check out the links at the end of this post for other reflections, thoughts and knowledge about scouting.
Starting the journey
You're in class for maybe eight hours a day, so the major thing you can do, if you really want to pursue this path is figure out how to best use the other sixteen hours to put you closer to your goal. This advice is the same for any job, but its that extra work, be it extracurricular activities, extra courses on the side or what have you, that will help you in the long run.
The key thing to keep in mind is that the hockey world is a very small one. I donít say that to discourage you, only to make sure your plans are realistic. Itís often said that getting hired in any field is as much (if not more) who you know as opposed to what you know. The world of hockey is no different. Look at the scouting and management ranks of most teams and youíll see names and faces that you recognize as former players or people involved in the sport for a long time. One of my favorite examples is that Ron Wilson was introduced to Brian Burke in college by Lou Lamoriello. A lot of being successful is about who you know and being in the right place at the right time.
If you really want it, a job in hockey is possible. It may not be the title of General Manager for your favorite team, but if you work hard enough in the right direction, you can get gainful employment in the world of hockey. Just keep in mind, that like anything, there will be sacrifices: You'll probably have to start small, maybe not even full-time, maybe not even paid, before you can work your way up to actually make a living. I strongly advise that you keep this in mind as you embark on this path.
Finally, here's a crapload of links to these discussions before. Read them. All of them. There are a lot of tidbits of good information.
Sports Management World Wide School:
Working in Hockey/Sports:
- the thread that started this post
Gare Joyce's Book on Scouting and the world of Hockey:
Scouting and Becoming a Scout:
The Hockey News also has this great little feature this year called A Scout's Life:
Again, I am not gainfully employed by the hockey industry and do not take this as any sort of career advice. I'm in no way qualified to give that sort of advice. This is merely a collection of information to guide you towards exploring the opportunities that exist out there.
If any information is wrong, needs updating, dead links, etc. as well as any information that you wish to add, please let me know.
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