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VIP Insider Post #110: Hockey Ops Role Coming Into Focus

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Exclusively for our VIP supporters, TMR editor Mike McMahon brings you these “insider” posts, where he’ll discuss the news and give some insight and perspective on the stories we’re covering here at The Mack Report as well other insider info from stories around the country …

— Look for Lance Brady to be hired as the new director of hockey operations at Merrimack, replacing Jim Tortorella. Brady has been the head coach at Assumption College for the last 10 years. Clearly, Scott Borek was looking for someone with a lot of experience in that role, with Tortorella (who was seemingly overqualified) and now Brady, who leaves a head-coaching position (Tortorella did also, at Saint Anselm).

I say “seemingly overqualified” but that’s only because of how many programs have defined the position over the last several years. A lot of programs are using hockey ops as just that … day-to-day operations. Booking travel, booking meals, ice, equipment, etc. Borek wants the role to evolve into more of a “GM” of a college hockey program, essentially. The role will involve video analysis, game planning, overseeing itineraries for coaches (including recruiting trips, although hockey ops can’t recruit themselves), and helping on the ice when allowed and necessary. With some different responsibilities, the role is essentially a third assistant coach.

There was a long list of people who applied for the position when Tortorella left for Harvard. In part, people knew that if Tortorella took the job originally, it must have paid decently well and involved more than the typical hockey ops responsibilities; it was going to be utilized as more of a coaching role.

— Am I the only one who chuckled a little bit that the USPHL has once again changed its name? The old EJHL became the USPHL a few years back, as league organizers tried to convince people it was the “premiere” junior hockey league in North America, and the USHL took exception. Now the league has appeared to change its branding yet again, going by the EHF Selects moniker on social media (with USPHL in parenthesis).

Branding the “EHF Selects” with the EHF is smart. You’re going to get a lot of parents who will pay extra to play in the EHF (the youth league), if they think it gets their child a leg up on one day playing in the EHF Selects.

Honestly, it’s enough to make someone’s head spin. Who’s getting cut? Which coach hates your kid? Who is playing politics behind the scenes? These are all the usual topics that come up when I talk youth hockey with other hockey parents. It’s always something. The last thing that comes up, usually, is whether or not their kid is enjoying playing hockey. For the most part we’re talking about kids … let them go play hockey and just have fun doing it. Enough is enough.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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