While you were stuck in traffic this morning or grabbing your morning cup of coffee (or if you are a Millennial, still sound asleep), the Leafs were busy doing work announcing a flurry of new front office folks (folk’s).
The @MapleLeafs have also hired Hayley Wickenheiser as the club’s Assistant Director of Player Development, Noelle Needham as an Amateur Scout based in the Midwestern United States and Victor Carneiro as an Amateur Scout based in Ontario. #TMLtalk
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 23, 2018
The full official write-up from the Leafs can be found here, and goes into the background of all of these individuals a lot more than I will here, which is going to focus more on reaction.
“Over the course of her 23-year hockey career, Wickenheiser was a seven-time World Champion, five-time Olympic medalist and four-time Olympic Champion as a member of Team Canada, in addition to serving as Canada’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She retired with the most goals, assists and points ever recorded for the Canadian Women’s National team and as the all-time leading scorer in the Olympics’ women’s hockey tournament. She also participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics as a member of Canada’s softball team. In 2011, Wickenheiser was named to the Order of Canada, which is one of the country’s highest civilian honours and recognizes “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.”
It’s hard to think of a person more deserving of this opportunity or someone with a more impressive hockey career behind their name than Hayley. She’s a Canadian hockey legend and role like this for Hayley was long overdue. Few people have worked harder, and that’s exactly what you want in someone with a senior role in a player development department.
Perhaps this is a trend and we’ll see more women in senior roles in Men’s hockey.
The Leafs front office apparently loves Stephane Robidas, and frankly it’s comforting to see the Leafs do right by him by giving him an opportunity for a post playing career, after cutting Stephane’s career prematurely short through creative book keeping.
In my opinion, there’s a real benefit to having someone in player development who has recently played the current version of the game and can relate to the players through shared experience. There was never a knock on Robidas for not being a hard worker or a smart guy, so he’ll do well in this elevated role.
I think we all wish we could be promoted as fast and as often as Pellerin. The Leafs development track record is largely his to own recently, and that’s probably why we’re seeing him getting a title bump once more.
Noelle Needham is former Minnesota State forward who has spent the past decade making a career in hockey through her own entrepreneurship. Located near the hockey hotbeds of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, she’s going to give the Leafs insights into the NCAA, USHL, and High School programs that seems to have been lacking over the past few years.
Many of us have chatting up Vic on twitter over the past few years, either about junior hockey, but much more likely, music. The former Director of Player Personnel for the Soo Greyhounds, he’s proven to be a smart guy on both topics, and friendly, open minded guy who not only has been a keen set of eyes helping the Soo Greyhounds become, and maintain their success, but also he’s someone who sees the value in using analytics as part of the picture hockey, and in scouting.
Basically, it’s safe to say all of these hires and promotions have a level of excitement attached to them. They are sign that things are going well for the Leafs, that the team is going to use its resources to its full extent, and that Kyle Dubas is building his team and surrounding himself with people he trusts and respects. These are the pieces that might not get enough attention, but will be critical to the Leafs long term success.