Interview with Bill Scott, AHL Director of Hockey Operations

By Dan Canavan

Bill Scott

With the hockey season well underway, I thought it would be a great time to catch up with Bill Scott, Director of Hockey Operations for the American Hockey League.  Bill is currently in his fourth season with the AHL, after serving as the Coordinator of Hockey Operations for the East Coast Hockey League.  

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bill and discuss the sports industry, the current state of hockey, and the inner workings of the AHL.  My sincere thanks to Bill for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his insight.  

Here’s Part I of the Interview, with Part II to follow tomorrow.  

Dan Canavan: As ctsportslaw.com has continued to reach new readers, we routinely receive emails seeking advice on how to start a career in the sports industry. How did you get your start, and do you have any advice for those looking to break into the industry?  

Bill Scott: In high school I did an internship for the local Junior ‘A’ hockey team which dealt with a range of things, from marketing to playing the music during the games.  I then attended Michigan State University and was able to work as a student manager for the hockey team.  It was there that I made a lot of good contacts and developed some great relationships in the hockey world.  Upon graduation I sent out my resume to about 55 different people in the hockey industry to see if there were any job openings.  David Poile, GM of the Nashville Predators, called me and offered me an internship in their hockey operations department.  From there I was able to connect to the ECHL where I became the Coordinator of Hockey Operations.  I am currently in my fourth season in the American Hockey League.  

I think for someone breaking into the industry, I would tell them not to be picky and be prepared to work hard.  If you aren’t a former player, odds are that NHL management won’t know who you are, so you must take the time to earn your stripes.  It’s important to get involved at any level and build your resume.  If you work hard and take pride in what you do, especially at the tedious and mundane tasks, people will notice of your attitude and you will be in a better position to advance.  The little details go a long way in this industry.  

DC: The AHL serves as a developmental league for players and referees alike.  Tell us a little about how AHL referees and linesmen are developed, reviewed and promoted to the NHL.  

BS: There are essentially three groups of referees in our league.  We have 6 NHL contracted Referees who split time between the NHL and the AHL, 5 full-time AHL referees who we would deem our core veterans and we have about 10 prospects who are working their way towards the NHL.  These referees are supervised both in person and on video.  They receive constant feedback from our hockey operations department which includes our officiating supervisors and NHL supervisors who scout on a full-time basis.   The referees also receive a DVD of each game they work so that they can review the game and self-evaluate their performance.  I think the main thing to remember is that these officials love the game of hockey and they strive to do their best each and every night.  Their job is not an easy one but they take great pride in their work.  

DC: As the Director of Hockey Operations for the American Hockey League, what are your day-to-day responsibilities?  

BS: My job description varies far and wide.  Some of the tasks I am responsible for is our Central Registry (maintaining and approving contracts and roster changes), assigning Officials, supervision of Officials, managing the Off-Ice Officials across the league and ensuring all of our teams are in compliance with our On-Ice Branding Program.  In the summer our number one priority is creating the playing schedule for the league.  Lauren Peterson and myself take on that task which is completed in August.  It is probably the single most important responsibility in the department as it plays a role in determining a portion of the financial expectations for our teams based on their home schedule and travel schedule.  

DC: The AHL is known for putting a consistently good product on the ice. What is one thing that fans probably don’t know about what goes into putting their favorite AHL squad on the ice?  

BS: It is probably just how dedicated the players and staffs are for their team.  Most American Hockey League team offices consist of 12-15 people.  This group is responsible for everything you see when you come to a game from the ticket sales, the website, in-game entertainment and marketing.  Also, the players in our league are very giving of their time in the community and are always ready to give a helping hand to those in need.  Between the practices, games, travel, workouts, video sessions and community events our players and teams stay very busy each and every day.  There is a level of commitment that both the players and team staff must have which is unparalleled in the sports industry.

Comments

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Part II of Interview with AHL’s Bill Scott Here’s Part II of Dan Canavan’s Interview with Bill Scott, the Director of Hockey Operations for the American Hockey League.  Click here to read Part I. […]

  2. […] Continue reading here: Interview with Bill Scott, AHL Director of Hockey Operations … […]

  3. […] Interview with Bill Scott, AHL Director of Hockey Operations […]

  4. […] more on Scott’s AHL career, see Daniel B. Fitzgerald’s Interview with Bill Scott, AHL Director of Hockey Operations, Dec. 17 and 18, 2009 from Connecticut Sports […]

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