This week’s Women’s Hockey Wednesday is a bit more of a “Women In Hockey Wednesday”, as we shift our focus to the major-junior leagues and Kathryn Jean, scout. Kathryn was kind enough to talk to us about what it’s like to be a scout, her process, and what other hats she wears.
Kathryn is on Twitter at @msconduct, and you can find her scouting at @DobbersHockey and coverage of the Ottawa 67s @67sReport.
What is your scouting process like?
My scouting process really starts with identify the players first (ie who’s draft eligible/free agent). For those who are draft eligible in the upcoming drafts, I do early smaller evaluations and see how they progress. You really need to see a player more than 10-15 times against different levels of competition to make a solid analysis.
What’s your “game day routine”?
If I’m not at a game to scout certain players, I research the rosters and indicate where players have been drafted, who’s eligible and if there are any on big streaks (both positive and negative).
When it comes to hockey, what other hats do you wear besides “scout”? I know you write as well.
I’ve been working in hockey since I was 16 and have experience in multiple roles on the business operations side of team sport … anything from marketing to administration to community relations but mostly game production and public relations. I’ve always tried to keep a foot in the door and that’s where I began to write for the @67sReport – covering from a reporter perspective rather than a scout.
Do you have certain types of players you gravitate toward? What draws your attention to a player?
I tend to notice offensive players more easily (I think a lot of us are like that). But I gravitate to players who skate well, have good composure and don’t panic. Also players who have a certain tenacity – driving hard to the net, back checking … definitely add in consistency and hockey sense (you can have all the skill in the world, but if you don’t know when to challenge/hold back, you aren’t going to get very far).
What is something you absolutely need to see from a player when evaluating him?
I know some people critique this, but compete level is a big factor for me. Nothing is worse than a lazy player who thinks h/’she doesn’t need to work on things. I am a big supporter of the quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Are there any players you’re particularly excited to watch this season?
I’m excited to see if Travis Konecny can light it up this year. He’s always been a very good and even underrated player, but it wasn’t until his move to Sarnia that he emerged as one of the top players in the league. Speaking of underrated players, I think Adam Mascherin has what it takes to win the scoring title this year. Mikhail Sergachev is another player to watch for. He had a very good season last year, but with experience under his belt and a Memorial Cup calibre team, he could dominate.
I also really like the draft class this year. Jason Robertson, Nic Hague, Owen Tippett, Sasha Chmelevski, Matt Strome, Gabe Vilardi, Nick Suzuki… lots of solid talent league wide.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your job? Are there any challenges you deal with regularly that people might not realize you have to handle?
I always have mixed reactions on this. There are always challenges that come up. Luckily most things I don’t even hear any more. In my earlier years, I found it hard to be in the business as a young woman. I always felt like I had to earn my respect instead of just starting with some. I always felt like I had to be extra careful with how I interacted with the players that I was hired to work beside too.
It’s not so much like that anymore. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been working in sports for so long that I’ve developed thick skin but it takes a lot to offend me. If I’m honest, I don’t really encounter issues anymore. I try to let me work speak for itself. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve seen the some of the disgusting comments other women have to deal with. I’m fortunate to have met some great men and women because of this beautiful game. Always thankful for that.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I really enjoy seeing players develop throughout their OHL career and see where they end up, especially seeing those who make their NHL dreams a reality. You also learn some pretty interesting and/or inspiring stories.
Any funny stories you can share?
I hung up on Elliott Friedman when trying to connect him to the coach of a team I was working for. He wasn’t in the office and I didn’t know how to get back to Friedman and to my horror, I accidentally hung up on him. He called back, was super chill about it as [I] continued to blamed it on my first day (… which it definitely wasn’t haha).
Finally, what has been your biggest triumph in this job, personally or otherwise?
I’m always grateful for the opportunities that I have/I’ve had to cover prospects, but I don’t think I’ve quite reached where I want to and there’s always room to grow.