REGINA, Sask. - The wind is whipping, the snow falling and it's minus-13 degrees fahrenheit here in the capital city of Saskatchewan. Woo-hoo!
No worries though. I have a parka, gloves and toque. I'm all set for the big scouting excursion. Not to mention plenty of coffee grinds, work boots and a Winter Classic scarf. Thermals, sweatshirts, some music and several maps. Also, I just want to make mention that I'm three blocks away from the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan and two miles away from Brandt Centre -- site of Wednesday's fifth game in the 2011 Subway Super Series featuring Team WHL against Team Russia.
Funny, I really can't remember the last time I actually heard wind howling this loudly outside my window. I do now.
On the first stop of our four-city Western Canadian scouting trip with NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, the crew at NHL.com will take a glimpse of tomorrow's stars today. The Subway Super Series is currently tied, 2-2, following back-to-back wins by the Ontario Hockey League on Nov. 10 (10-7) and Nov. 14 (6-3), so it's all up to Team WHL.
"This is a great way for Hockey Canada to evaluate players in one setting," WHL assistant coach Ryan Huska said. "This is a big time evaluation for them and it's their opportunity to show that they deserve the invite come Christmas [for participation in the World Junior Championship], so it's important. We really do look at these games in regards to our invites to Christmas camp."
Don Hay, who is head coach for Team WHL and also the head man for the Canadian National Junior Team competing at the 2012 World Junior Championship, agrees.
"We've identified the players who have played well for their club teams in all three leagues and it gives them the opportunity to come out and compete with the best players of our league against international competition," Hay said. "You really get to see them in an environment that is very competitive."
The series concludes on Thursday at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. We'll then travel to Swift Current before concluding our journey in Lethbridge on Friday.
In addition to checking a few top prospects eligible for the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, including defenseman Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels and forward Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets, we'll be documenting the 'Life of a Scout' through the eyes of veteran Ontario Hockey League scout Chris Edwards.
Scouting is no easy task, particularly for a husband and father of two (Reagan, 3 weeks old, and Abby, 4 years old). We'll get to the bottom of what life is like on the road with one of the more respected individuals in the scouting fraternity. Edwards has spent the last 12 years travelling through more than his share of snow drifts in Ontario and Western Canada.
Over the next three days, we'll find out, among other things I'm sure, what he looks for in a player, how information is logged, his relationship with other scouts not employed by Central Scouting, if he ever played a practical joke on a fellow scout, life on the road and who might be the finest player he's ever scouted.
Stay tuned …
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale