Sanders NSH

In the summer of 2004, Regina Pats Scout Glen Sanders was busy toiling through offseason preparations when his phone rang unexpectedly.

The voice on the other end of the line claimed to be Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile, and additionally claimed to have a scouting job for Sanders with one of the youngest teams in the National Hockey League.

“I had never applied for any job, so I thought he was pulling my leg - I thought somebody was pranking me,” Sanders said. “So, I pretty much cut him right off and hung up the phone.”

The only problem: the man on the other end of the line was, in fact, Nashville’s general manager, who was indeed calling Sanders with a once-in-a-lifetime offer.

Taking another look at the 615 area code, Sanders realized his mistake.

“It took me about four hours, but I got the courage to call back,” Sanders said. “And David goes, ‘Well Glen, I’ve never had anybody shut me down so fast when I was offering them a job.’”

Still, the offer remained on the table and Sanders - now knowing full well who he was talking to - accepted.

Though he didn’t know it at the time, the British Columbia native was about to spend the next two decades of his life scouting in his own backyard for future Predators talent.

Now days away from retirement, Sanders said he wouldn’t change a thing.

“It's been great and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Sanders said. “I could probably do a couple more years, but I just think it's time… It's been fun and I feel like I’ll always be a part of the Predators.”

Get Out What You Put In

Maybe you already know it or maybe you don’t: scouting is no easy gig.

With thousands of games and thousands more hours of work logged between his 20 years of scouting at the NHL level and his 20 in the WHL, Sanders probably understands this better than most.

“People think that you just go to watch hockey games, like ‘How hard could scouting be?’” Sanders said. “They don’t know that you're driving at two o'clock in the morning in the middle of Saskatchewan at 50-below zero, trying to get to your hotel or trying to get to the next town. You’re booking flights, booking hotels, doing your expenses - and it all takes time. It's a busy year and a busy life for the scouts. They're on the go all the time. And you're talking to agents, you're talking to general managers and you're constantly doing research on these kids. It takes a lot of your time.”

Of course, as the old adage goes, nothing worth having ever comes easy. Sanders understands this sentiment too, with his tireless dedication to the role helping the Predators bring in talent like Seth Jones, Colton Sissons, Tanner Molendyk and countless others.

Though Sanders opts to divvy out the credit for most of Nashville’s Western Canadian discoveries, there is one player he’ll gladly take the lion’s share for: former Predators forward Tanner Jeannot.

Undrafted, the Estevan, Saskatchewan, native would start his climb through Nashville's system at 20 years old, then go on to tally the second-most points from a Predators rookie (24g-17a-41pts) in team history.


“Nobody knew who he was,” Sanders said. “He was 20 years old and he had no options. He played on the wing with Brayden Point all year [with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors], so I'd follow Brayden Point around during the playoffs and Tanner was just killing it. And I talked to his agent and he had nowhere to go after the season. He was a farm kid from Saskatchewan. So I really pushed, and they weren't interested in signing him at first. And so I just kept going, I pushed pretty hard and they finally made him a small offer, and he took it. He turned out to be a hell of a player for us, and we ended up getting five draft picks for him.”

Put simply, one of the best trade deadline deals in franchise history would not have happened without Sanders. The return, however - which concludes with a first-round pick in next year’s draft - will continue to benefit the Predators long after he’s gone.

Small Town to Small Town

About 400 miles east of Vancouver and six miles north of the U.S. border sits the Canadian city of Trail.

Flanked by the Monashee Mountains to the west and the Selkirk Mountains to the east, the historic mining and smelting city is one of the smallest in British Columbia, with a population of roughly 8,200 calling Trail home today.

It’s here where Sanders raised his family and laid the foundation for his accomplished career - first as a scout for the neighboring Prince Albert Raiders and Kamloops Blazers, then as general manager for the local Trail Smoke Eaters.

It’s here, too - just a stone’s throw from the Smoke Eaters’ home at Cominco Arena - where you’ll find Sanders’ name enshrined on the city’s Home of Champions Monument alongside a short list of other notable local figures.

Though he’d never set foot in Nashville - or Tennessee, for that matter - the small-town feel he discovered upon his arrival in 2004 likely wasn’t far from that of his home nearly 1,800 miles to the north.

“When we first started there was nothing down Broadway,” Sanders said. “There were no hotels. You had the Hilton, you had the Renaissance, you had a Hampton Inn and I don't think there was anything much other than that. Downtown around the arena, it was all a bunch of train tracks.”

As much a professional traveler as a professional scout, Sanders had a truly unique perspective as his second home grew almost unrecognizably each time he’d leave for business on the road.

Of course, that’s been all the better for Sanders and his team.

“It's been fun to watch,” he said. “We had some good years and we had some runs and all of a sudden, you started seeing Predators flags around town and in the bars, and that never happened for the first 10 years.. When we first started, it was very low key and I think a lot of outside teams never thought we'd survive down here. I really believe they thought they'd give us a token franchise and that it’d probably disappear in a few years, but they did such a wonderful job.”

A Smashville Family

Though his immediate family has remained in Trail and surrounding parts of British Columbia, over the last 20 years Sanders has come to call his team in Music City family, too.

“It came from David and [current GM Barry Trotz] from day one,” Sanders said. “ I got here about five years after it started, but the groundwork had been laid down and they always treated us like family. We’ve all talked about it, like the other teams don't have this. You don't get together like we did the other night with staff. Some of them aren’t even allowed to go to their games. It's just such a different atmosphere.”


It’s not uncommon for NHL scouts to sign their team contracts on a year-to-year basis, nor is it uncommon to see faces come and go. But in Nashville, Poile wanted his scouts signed for three or four years, and almost always the year before their contracts were set to expire.

For that reason, the team Sanders started with in 2004 is largely the same as the team he’ll take his final curtain call with in Vegas this week.

“It comes right from David to [CEO Sean Henry] and [President Michelle Kennedy]. They've made that a whole thing. Like how many CEOs actually intermingle and want to know how you're doing, want to talk to you. So, I've been so proud of working here for 20 years. It’s going to be tough to leave.”

It’s going to be tough to lose him, too - the weight of his departure made crystal clear by those who’ve come to know Sanders, and his tireless work, best.

“It's massive,” Predators Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting Jeff Kealty said. “Glen has been a huge part of our staff. He's a great person, first off, and he's done a great job for us. We've taken a lot of players from Western Canada, so we're going to miss him. But as I've told him multiple times, he’ll always be a part of our group going forward. It’s just a brotherhood, one of those types of things. But he is going to be missed, for sure.”

“He's not only a good scout, he's just a good human being,” Predators Chief Amateur Scout Tom Nolan said. “He's fun to be around, and he knows the Western Hockey League inside and out, because he's done every job in the Western League… He's just a good person and a great scout.”

Take Your Bow

Though Sanders will officially call it a career at the conclusion of this year’s draft, the veteran scout won’t be able to avoid the spotlight for much longer.

Formed last year and considered to be the first organization of its kind in Canada, the Western Canada Professional Hockey Scouts Foundation is set to induct 45 inaugural members to their Wall of Honour at a special unveiling banquet on July 30.

Sanders’ name is naturally included among those 45.

“It's interesting, and it's kind of neat, because you get the recognition from other scouts and from the other teams,” he said. “And I was quite surprised, to be honest.”

Not that he should be. With two decades spent helping young hockey players realize their NHL dreams, Sanders has certainly earned the recognition.

He’s earned his time away from the rink, too, and already has plans on how to spend it.

“I think getting out of it, I want to spend some time with my grandkids and my kids while I can. I've got a place at a lake that I haven't hardly spent any time at. So we're going to do that, and maybe we’ll travel a little bit… But like I said, it's going to be bittersweet, for sure.”

The 2024 NHL Draft presented by Upper Deck is Friday at 6 p.m. CT at Sphere in Las Vegas, Nev. Predators fans can tune in or stream all the action on ESPN and ESPN+.