A captivating look at the world of the scout and the prospect.
– The Globe and Mail
“One of this continent’s master craftsmen of sporting prose” (Sports Illustrated) and three-time National Magazine Award-winner Gare Joyce goes undercover to learn the secrets of NHL scouts.
Veteran sports writer Gare Joyce realizes a long-held secret ambition as he spends a full season embedded as a hockey scout. Joyce’s year on the hockey beat is a steep learning curve for him; NHL scouts spend each season gathering information on players fighting it out to break into the world of professional hockey. They watch hundreds of games, speak to scores of players, parents, team-mates and other scouts, amassing profiles on all the top contenders. It’s a form of risk assessment–is this young hopeful deserving of a multi-million dollar contract?–and it can be a tough and thankless task. Scouts are ground into the game, picking up nuances of play that even the most committed fan would miss, but they are looking at more than just how well a kid can play. And come the final draft, only a tiny percentage of their full year’s work might matter.
Examining the amount of information gathered on the under-eighteen hopefuls, the scrutiny to which they are subjected, and the differences between the rigour of American and Canadian junior teams, Joyce opens a window on the life and methods of an NHL scout and penetrates the mysterious world of scouting as no one has before.
Gare Joyce, described by Sports Illustrated as “one of this continent’s master craftsmen of sporting prose,” is a writer for ESPN The Magazine , a sports correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a contributor to several other magazines. He has won four National Magazine Awards and been a finalist 19 times. He has written three books, Sidney Crosby: Taking the Game by Storm, The Only Ticket Off the Island: Baseball in the Dominican Republic, and When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey’s Cold War and Changed the Game.