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11-14-2008, 11:08 PM
Kyle McMahon
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Evil Empire
Country: Canada
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I took the SMWW Hockey GM and Scouting course about two and a half years ago, so I'd imagine a fair bit has changed since then. I would hope it has made considerable improvments. There were basically three elements to the course when I took it:

-Understanding the background of player-owner relations, the NHLPA, Alan Eagleson, etc. For this we were given copies of "Money Players" and "Net Worth" to read. You can probably find them at your local library. You were also given a copy of the current CBA. A little premature I thought, but a good resource.

-RinkNet scouting software. You get introduced to it and taught how to use it, but it's not too complicated. As long as you are reasobaly competant with computers (which I would assume you already are) you can learn how to use it in an hour. (Again, this was the version from spring of 2006, maybe it's changed)

-Live chats once a week. Good for networking and meeting people, in theory. But we weren't connected with anybody of notable importance. Mainly EJ Hradek, who's a great guy and knows his stuff. But he's an online writer/analyst for ESPN, and was at one time a scout for the Dallas Stars I think, not exactly a "big name" that's going to get you into the business. Also Denis MacInnis from Ineternation Scouting Services. Sounded promising, but to the best of my knowledge ISS wasn't hiring anybody out of the program to do scouting for them. Maybe now that SMWW is more well-known, they've rounded up higher profile guests for their online chats.

All in all, I was disappointed with the program, but somebody who took it more recently can give you a better description of what the program now entails.

Unfortunately, hockey is just a bloody hard business to break into unless you're a former player. You can take all the courses and have all the hockey knowledge necessary. But if a fourth liner on the team, with no demonstrative hockey knowledge aside from playing the game, and no experience at any job besides working at McDonald's and playing hockey, decides he wants to be a scout, he's the one getting hired, not you. It's not fair, but it is what it is.

Looks like you're from Winnipeg. I'm sure there's plenty of local junior hockey in the area. Like others have said, volunteer for any position and get a feel for it. But have a Plan B, because unfortunately you're probably going to have to fall back on it. Since you're in university, whichever degree you end up with will likely provide many other career opportunities, so really you're in as decent a position as you can hope to be in.

I don't want to discourage you, but that's the way the hockey world seems to be. If you're driving through a blizzard to go scout a midget game two hours from home, ask yourself if can afford to be in that same position 10 years down the road. For every guy that did rise through the ranks and actually has a good job with a major professional club, there are hundreds that never get further than the scenario I outlined.

If you've ever considered a job in the media (I was at one point), right here at Hockey's Future is a great place to start. I wrote articles for them for a couple of years. If you've got good writing skills, and have an interest in writing about prospects, drop them a line. Can't say whether or not they're looking for new writers, but I'd say it's probable. You get to interact with the staff too, they're usually helpful and in good spirits, right Kevin?

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