Often overlooked NHL scouts are finding their feet thanks to a new foundation

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While some GMs who started out as amateur scouts, like Ken Holland, are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it’s a major, not to mention minor, oversight that long-time scouts who use their draft picks to help build hockey teams help, not belong.

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They are the lifeblood of every strong or newly developing team.

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But they have been neglected in the HHOF vote year after year.

But they’ll get their due out here.

“The successful NHL teams are a product of scouting… the good players don’t just show up, you have to pick them,” said Edmonton native Garth Malarchuk, in his 31st year as an amateur scout with the Toronto Maple Leafs and committed also very much for the new Western Canada Professional Hockey Scouts Foundation, which plans to welcome four amateur bird dogs at a fundraising roast for Ron MacLean on September 30th at the Okotoks Centennial Arena.

The charitable foundation seeks to recognize Scouts for their tireless commitment to professional teams, while also helping Scouts who may be in need, as well as communities and individuals across Western Canada who need assistance

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“We’ve been talking about this for 18 years now,” said Foundation Secretary Malarchuk. “We came up with the idea of ​​recognizing former and current scouts with a Wall of Honor, a video presentation at the arena in Okotoks (AJHL), where people can go into the main foyer there and scroll through to find out who they are are scouts. It will be eight feet by 12 feet.

“This is a first in Canada. There is no other sport that has done anything for its scouts. In the US this was done for baseball scouts, but not in Canada. We hope Ontario follows suit with hockey,” he added.

Amateur scouts also do hockey here. They are out all winter, in blizzards, often sitting in cold ice rinks, up on the corner benches, sipping a cup of coffee, later writing reports on 18-year-olds and trying to imagine what they will be like at 22 or 23. They stretch head out, except for the Connor McDavids and Connor Bedards who are younger generations.

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“We always talked about how when we first started scouting, myself, Ron Delorme, Craig Button, Erin Ginnell (foundation director) and others talked about how well we were influenced by people like Barry Fraser, Lorne Davis and Gerry, Melnyk, Lou Jankowski, Elmer Benning,” said Malarchuk, who has more than 50 current and former scouts in the foundation, which also includes Wayne Gretzky’s former agent Mike Barnett as well as TSN’s top scout Button Ross Mahoney, the assistant GM, include Washington, Scott Bradley (Boston), Ginnell (Vegas) and Hayley Wickenheiser on board.

Longtime Oilers western scout Jim Crosson is one of the foundation directors, along with Malarchuk, Ginnell, Bradley and Ginnell.

We’re sorry, but this video failed to load.

Former Winnipeg Jets TV play-by-play man Dennis Beyak will be the MC at the Sept. 30 banquet with roasters Elliotte Friedman, Ken Lowe, Tim Hunter, John Shannon and the Hall of Famer, Peter Maher. An all-star cast

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There are countless Western Canadian NHL team scouts who deserve Wall of Fame recognition. Of course, Fraser and Davis from the early glory days of the Oilers. Fraser’s keen eye built the Oilers (Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen and Steve Smith) and Davis, who played for Ryan Smyth and Grant Fuhr.

Melnyk, who campaigned heavily in Philly for Bobby Clarke, who suffered from diabetes, Benning, who worked for Montreal for more than four decades and pushed them to recruit goaltender Carey Price so highly in Round 1,

And then there’s Ian McKenzie (Calgary), John Chapman (Flyers) and Ace Bailey (Oilers).

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“The Centennial Cup (national junior A championship) will be held in Okotoks (2025) and we hope the presentation for this will get underway,” Malarchuk said. “We will also create a visual library with people like Cliff Fletcher and Glen Sather talking about these scouts. If we don’t do that, these Boy Scouts will be forgotten.”

Unfortunately, Fraser, Davis, Bailey and Benning – who got around a million clicks on his Toyota Camry – have passed away, but they should be remembered, as should all the amateur scouts who are the true fabric of every NHL team, Many of them were the ones who started it. He works anonymously for Canadian junior teams.

“People like Elmer Benning… he’s one of the best men I’ve ever met. When I went to his funeral, I learned that he once worked three jobs (firefighter, farmer, boy scout) to keep his family afloat so his children could play hockey. Almost 50 years as a scout for Montreal,” said Malarchuk.

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