How it Began…

Our Wall of Honor

Our foundation originated because of a desire to create a Western Canada Professional Hockey Scouts Wall of Honour. This emerged from discussions among present-day scouts, all of whom wanted to honour the more senior scouts from Western Canada who had worked in the NHL through the early-1960s and into the late-‘80s. It was felt that these individuals deserve to be acknowledged and honoured by the scouting fraternity for the friendships, efforts and contributions they had made to hockey during their many years of service. Thus, it was decided to design a Wall of Honour as a permanent display that would pay tribute to all of these scouts.


Once that decision was made, the next step was to find a venue that would partner with our foundation and play host to a permanent video display for our Western Canada Professional Hockey Scouts Wall of Honour. The Okotoks Centennial Arena turned out to be the perfect location with the Town of Okotoks, located 38 km south of downtown Calgary and home to the AJHL’s Oilers, graciously accepting our proposal to join us in our undertaking.


Our group then decided to expand on our blueprint and to establish a foundation with the mandate of assisting individuals, charities and communities associated with the game of hockey that might require support and/or financial assistance.


The necessary measures have since been taken to get our foundation up and running. With a collection of dedicated volunteers having given of their time and efforts, we were able to establish the base to our foundation and create our website. We also have made plans for future endeavors.


We hope this website will provide the public with some insight into the history of the scouting profession and the significant role scouts play within the hockey industry.


We appreciate your support and interest in this website and in our foundation’s future endeavors.

Evolution of Scouting
Pioneer Years of Pro Scouting (1940-1963)

These were the years when the NHL’s original six teams sponsored teams at the midget through junior levels of minor hockey. During this era, an NHL team could sign a player of interest to a ‘C’ form. That move would secure the player’s playing rights, locking him up in perpetuity. That player would play on one of the organization’s sponsored teams with the goal of moving up the ladder and ultimately playing for the big club. For the most part, the scouting process and subsequent signing of players was controlled by the people who oversaw the sponsored teams. Each sponsored team was allowed to have two affiliated teams from several lower-level leagues, which created a situation not unlike a pyramid, with the NHL team at the top and sponsored teams layered below. In the end, the Montreal Canadiens were probably the most-proficient organization in taking advantage of this system throughout this time period.

Early Era of Pro Scouting (1963 – Expansion – 1979)

In 1963, NHL President Clarence Campbell oversaw the six-team league’s first amateur draft, the aim of which was to create a more-balanced playing field. The sponsorship system still was in play during the first couple of years of the amateur draft. But it finally broke down in 1966 when the Sponsorship Player Protection Lists were frozen with the league mandating that players no longer could be added. The sponsorship program along with the player lists consequently dissolved in short order.

Henceforth, the drafting process became an even more important component in constructing NHL teams’ foundations and reserve lists. As a result, NHL scouting staffs began to evolve, becoming more structured and with a mandate of working through the drafting process.

With the increased popularity of the game, NHL expansion and an influx of European players, scouting staffs had to become more sophisticated in terms of strategies and groundwork.

In 1979, the NHL expanded to 21 teams with the addition of four franchises from the dismantled World Hockey Association. This increased the demand for more quality, skilled players, so NHL scouting staffs required more personnel from North America and Europe in order to cover all the territories that merited viewings and potential follow-up(s).

1980’s upto Modern-Day Era of Pro Scouting

Today’s NHL Entry Draft is a huge event that influences the lives of players, family members, agents, media and, of course, the hockey scouts and the NHL teams they represent.

Over the years, the modern-day professional scout has had to alter his approach and processing according to the game’s progression and changes in the style of play. The introduction of computers, with all of their capabilities, really changed the scout’s world, as did the arrival of video availability, physical testing and analytics. Those are just some of the resources that have become fundamental components of the scouting game.

As an NHL scout watching junior-aged prospects, you are assessing the player’s skill set, hockey sense, character, competitiveness and overall abilities, all the while trying to determine his potential and the role he might play at the pro level. There also are intangibles that come into play as you try to project what the young player will be once he has fully matured — physically and mentally.

It is true that scouting is anything but an exact science. Yes, every scout in the business wants to find that “diamond in the rough” or “hit a home run.” And, hopefully, as a scout, you encounter a bit of luck to help you do just that.

Working as a scout means you are in an extremely challenging profession that requires a lot of dedication and hard work. Much like the players you are watching, you must have a passion for the game, especially when you consider the amount of travel and live game viewings you will be faced with, along with time away from home that results in missing many special family events.
In the end, the scouting profession can be extremely rewarding and, at the same time, a humbling work experience.