Barnes of Postmedia shines bright light on scouting fraternity

Barnes of Postmedia shines bright light on scouting fraternity

The headline on the Calgary Herald website reads: “The road warriors of sports: NHL scouts have always been appreciated, but never publicly. Until now.”

Dan Barnes, a veteran sports journalist who works out of Edmonton for Postmedia, wrote a lengthy piece about NHL scouts that appeared in newspapers and on websites on Saturday (March 9).

He led the story by explaining how as many as 100 scouts would hang around for a day after the NHL draft and take part in a best-ball golf tournament that was a social event that allowed them to let loose for a few hours after a long, stressful season. It also showed what a close fraternity this bunch is, despite the fact they are in almost constant competition with each other on the scouting trail.

That annual gathering has gone away, however, thanks to the draft having evolved from a 12-round marathon to an event that ends quickly on its second day.

“Old scouts, however, are nonetheless determined to gather the fraternity on an annual basis and continue shining a spotlight on pioneers of their profession,” Barnes writes.

“The Western Canada Professional Hockey Scouts Foundation was formed for that reason and will fete its inaugural Wall of Honour inductees on July 29 in Okotoks, Alta. Forty-five men will be honoured for their dedication and accomplishments, 19 posthumously . . .”

This is a rich read and will take you at least two cups of coffee. But it’s well worth it.

You’ll find quotes and stories from the likes of Kevin Prendergast, Mike Penny, Wayne Meier, Bruce Haralson, Ted Hampson, Archie Henderson, Vaughn Karpan and Scott Bradley, all of whom will be among the inaugural class of inductees at the Wall of Honour celebration in Okotoks.

“At the end of his 30-year career, Henderson did the math,” Barnes writes. “He was 65 and estimated he had been at 6,000 games and spent 19 calendar years away from home.”

Henderson told Barnes: “I was away from my wife and my family, my kids, my parents for 19 years of my life. And how many people can sit back and say they would be willing to give up that many nights?”

These were and are a special breed and Barnes shines a nice, bright light on their profession.

His complete story, along with some terrific photos, is at the link below.