PPS’s Top 5 Rated Skaters from the AMBHL’s Southern Division eligible for the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft
- M. Klimchuk (F)
- J. Merkley (F)
- T. White (F)
- J. Lees (D)
- J. Watson (F)
2009 NHL Entry Draft/SMWW Career Conference Recap
Friday June 25
I made it to the conference at about 8:45am. Dr. Lashbrook made some opening remarks before introducing the first panel of Rick Olczyk, Assistant GM of the Edmonton Oilers, and Tom Lynn, Former Assistant GM of the Minnesota Wild. During the question/answer period Rick got a text or call and had to leave the room for a few minutes. It made for some good speculation as he had just talked about the Oilers wanting to move up in the draft. I was able to have a quick chat with Rick as he was on his way out of the room. He gave me some pretty good advice and some helpful tips for working in the sports industry.
Before lunch there were two more panels. The first panel focused on sports broadcasting and journalism. On the panel were EJ Hradek of ESPN, Howard Berger of The Fan 960, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News and Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
I found the next panel to be very interesting. The panel was made of CHL executives; Warren Rychel, GM of the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires, Jeff Twohey, GM of the Peterborough Petes, Trevor Whiffen, Governor of the London Knights and Charles Henry, GM of the Gatineau Olympique. Warren Rychel spoke allot about the process of turning his team around over the past few years…some interesting stuff.
The afternoon session was split into four panels. However before the sessions began Kerry Goulet, Director of Hockey Operations with Shoot For a Cure, spoke about the opportunities for working in sports in the not-for-profit sector. Something I had never really considered.
The first panel was NHL agent and family advisor, Matt Keator and potential first round picks Mike Lee and Chris Kreider. The relationship between a player and advisor is clear during this session; Mike and Chris clearly respect and trust Matt.
The next panel was the League Management Panel, consisting of Gilles Courteau, QMJHL Commissioner, David Branch, OHL Commissioner and Jim Mill, AHL Vice President. These guys have over 50 years of combined league management experience!
The next to last panel consisted of Mike Oke, ISS Chief Scout, Ron Mathurin, Steva Sports President, Jim Price, RinkNet Scouting Software President and Patrick Edwards, ISS Scout. This was a discussion about the products used in the SMWW Hockey GM and Scouting course.
Before we headed out we were joined, via telephone, by Mike Smith, former GM of the Chicago Blackhawks. Reception was pretty bad so I wasn’t able to follow the call very well. After some closing remarks from Dr. Lashbrook I spoke with his wife Liz to thank her for helping to put the conference together. She told me that she wanted to do a success story on me for their newsletter.
Now on to the first round of the draft! As I walked by the Bell Centre on my way to my hotel for a quick change, I happened by Bryan Murray and some other Ottawa Senators executives.
Before the draft got started the big question was, “Tavares or Hedman?” I really don’t think there was any question and if you ask me John Tavares was the number one guy for the Islanders the whole time. So it was no surprise to me that Garth Snow announced that John Tavares was the number one overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
There were many big names from the hockey world in attendance. Legendary CHL coach Brian Kilrea was sitting three seats away from me and I ran into Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell.
One big surprise for me was when the Islanders traded up three spots to 12th overall to pick Calvin De Haan, who was well down on most prospect lists. I figure word got out that a team picking before the Islanders were interested in him as well.
Following the first round I went for a beer at Le Cage, the bar at the Bell Centre and met Phil Pritchard, or the Keeper of the Stanley Cup. Now that’d be a great job!