In this day and age you better get it right when you draft, if you don’t you’re be left behind.
Sure every organization sees it differently and do their own thing, but I think everyone of them would agree with the value and importance of predraft interviews.
Obviously, for the last two years those predraft interviews have drastically changed due to the pandemic. The in person formal and informal interviews have given way to the virtual world and let’s just say this, both sides had their work cut out when it came to an adjustment period.
Clearly the scouting world had to change or adapt, it had go from old school to tech driven cutting edge rapidly.
One doesn’t have to explain how in-depth and important those scouting interviews go. To some NHL scouts they are make or break.
Now I’m sure in the CHL they are as equally important, but its really intriguing that in the hockey world we live in today that some young players are still way behind the times when it comes to media training and interview skills. Obviously, it’s just another area that takes time and money. You see that’s why every U-18 organization or agent should implement some kind of media training and while they are at it, they should also teach these young players the finer points of a social media footprint as well.
The hockey world and all of the agencies and families think of everything else these days, but when it comes to the predraft interview aspect by all accounts things are lacking big time. That’s a shame really on so many different levels. Obviously, everyone is unique, everyone has their own personality, but it also begs the question how much emphasis do scouts place on them in the Major Junior ranks. Well let’s just say a shit ton. You see any interview reveals character and drive if the right questions are explained and asked.
These interviews can also identify broad and very refined and specific hockey understanding and knowledge. One anonymous scout reported one young players interview was so good they didn’t want to end it, that the kid could have gone on for hours breaking down all the defensive sets, plays and players from every level of the game. That same scouting source also said some players struggled to remember certain plays and key game sequences from the past season and looked anxious, tremendously nervous and potentially unprepared.
They also reported some players seemed very nonchalant with their appearance and answers.
Obviously, the players skill on the ice should reign supreme, but nowadays the player and the person matter more than ever for these organizations especially when it comes to the NHL.
From a major junior standpoint the exact same thing can be said. These interviews might be only 25 to 35 minutes in length and very poignant or low key, but they are incredibly important when it comes to variables and intangibles that they can reveal.
Ask any 2021 NHL Draft Eligible player right now how many Zoom Interviews they have had with each team, it would probably blow your mind.
These calls are incredibly important and each and every player coming up through the ranks should be taught the finer points of media training and be prepared when it comes to this aspect of the game.
It’s more important than one might think.
For more information on the scouting and interview process done by NHL Scouts check out these two Interviews on the #FDSPodcastNewtork/ To the Point Podcast
This is Under Review by Noah Warren and Myself.
Shane Turner Dallas Stars Scout
Trent Mann Ottawa Senators Chief Amateur Scout