Scouting a Hockey Game With Tips From the Pros

Whether we are a coach, GM, player, parent, or fan of hockey we are usually, in some way, ‘scouting’ the on ice talent as we watch a hockey game.

Want to know how the pros do it? Rory Boylen has a weekly blog called A Scout’s Life on on scouting. Here is how it is described on the site:

A Scout’s Life is a weekly look at the world of minor and pro scouting throughout North America. Each week we’ll talk to different scouts from all levels of the game, getting a first-hand perspective of the different aspects of talent evaluation.

Boylan talks to people in the scouting world and gets insight on the many aspects of the job. The differences between being an amateur or pro scout are pointed out. Even details like where to sit to watch games is discussed. Here is a sample from the November 11/08 blog.

“There are always guys who will jump out you weren’t expecting to. That’s a bonus, someone else to follow.” – Paul Castron, director of amateur scouting, Columbus Blue Jackets…

So how does a scout keep an eye on all these guys without missing anything? Part of it is getting a heads-up from your area scouts so you know who to watch before you set foot in the arena and another part is getting there a little early – about one to two hours beforehand – and making sure you’re prepared.

“Prior to the game I’ll check out all my reports on all the players I expect to play and the date the last time I did a report on those players,” said Mark Dobson, director of player personnel with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Once the game is over, however, a scout usually doesn’t hang around for too long…

That reminds me of the old hockey line: “What are the eight words a scout never hears at a hockey game?-Last minute of play in the third period.”

Mike MacPherson also has a scouting blog. He has great stuff as well. I know Mike and he really knows talent. Here is information on Mike and where to get his blog.

Mike MacPherson began scouting in 1999 for the Chicago Blackhawks and was responsible for the ECHL. He is currently the director of scouting for the Phoenix Roadrunners, NHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks and also scouts the OHL for the International Scouting Service. MacPherson also coaches in the OMHA within Guelph Minor hockey. He will be blogging about his experences in scouting throughout the season on Read his other entries HERE.

Check these blogs out. They are entertaining, informative, and will give you a view from trained eyes-and I wouldn’t be surprised you will enjoy watching hockey more than ever.