Back in November, NHL.com had an opportunity to join NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards on a trip through Western Canada not only to view a few of the top prospects eligible for the 2012 Draft but gain exclusive access to "Life as a Scout."
"We're getting paid to watch hockey. Does it get any better?" Edwards told NHL.com.
In a span of 72 hours, and beginning in Regina, Sask., NHL.com accompanied Edwards to gain an exclusive first-hand look at the process of scouting and what it entails.
Edwards will be one of the several full-time scouts at the final meetings offering his assessment of those players he has witnessed over the course of the 2012 season.
Edwards, 41, started as a hockey official in the Canadian Tier 2 leagues before moving on to the Ontario Hockey League. His experience eventually landed him a job in the officiating department for the NHL 22 years ago. There, he began shooting videos of prospects and amateur referees before having a sit-down with veteran officials John D'Amico and Wally Harris, using the video as a training tool.
He eventually was offered a position in scouting 12 years ago.
"I don't know if people are aware of what scouts do when it comes to the daily 3-4 hour drive between games and through snowstorms … what we've gone through to get to a game," Edwards said. "I realize everyone fights through traffic to get to work in the morning, but I still remember a three-hour drive I took from Swift Current to Medicine Hat in minus-35 degree weather. There's absolutely nothing on the road, which is entirely straight with the exception of a curve here and there. If you hit a ditch and go off the road, it might take a while before someone might ever get to you."
And while we're on the subject of scouting and what the job actually entails, help me in saluting two great evaluators who will be calling it a career following the 2011-12 season.
Thank you! Jack Barzee
| Gary Eggleston
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale