How to Become an NHL Scout | LeoVegas

How to Become an NHL Scout

For many, the role of an NHL Scout is an opportunity that combines the luxury of travel with the chance to watch an abundance of hockey games. However, becoming a scout is no easy feat, and the role itself is demanding, and very different to your standard nine-to-five job.


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In the simplest form of job descriptions, an NHL Scout is required to research, observe and assess hockey talent on behalf of the NHL team they work for. They need to spot the hockey players that they believe can benefit the club by forming part of their teams and academies. Scouts need more than just in-depth knowledge and love for the sport, they must possess research, analytical and interpersonal skills, drive and the physical and mental stamina to endure a rigorous travel and game-watching schedule.

Although scouting is a career with multiple ways in, two paths are the most common points of entry into the role.

  1. Several NHL scouts begin their careers as professional hockey players, who then make the transition into scouting. This is often the case with players who during their career have stood out within the team, built strong connections and are often players whom the club desires to remain a part of the game by offering them the role of a scout.

  2. If you’re coming into the role with no experience as a player, the best place to start is by scouting for a junior local club. The more your recommendations prove successful, the greater your chances of being granted more responsibility become. More responsibility often means acquiring a higher role within the junior local club. Eventually, if some of the players you recommend land a place within the NHL, you may be granted a role at the NHL as a scout. The chances of this occurring are helped if you forge connections with people who are of high authority within the NHL.

Understanding the Role of an NHL Scout

As an NHL Scout, you must evaluate hockey players and assess their skills, ultimately determining which talent should form part of the team you represent. The job requires you to conduct adequate and consistent research on players and the game and attend games all over the country to conduct player evaluations.

Following your evaluation, you must write scout reports and present your recommendations to the team you work for. The job requires a lot of travel and time spent in hotel rooms, and veers away from traditional working hours.

Besides the experience needed above, key skills including effective communication, the ability to conduct appropriate research, literacy proficiency, and interpersonal skills such as listening and holding a conversation are necessary for the job role.

Gaining Hockey Knowledge

If you’ve previously been a player, then presumably you’re knowledgeable on the game and understand what it takes to make a good player. If you’ve never been a player or your knowledge is limited, but you’re serious about the whole scout gig, then the greatest thing you can do for yourself is to study the game and what makes a player stand out from the rest. There is no better way to do this than through practical experience.

The more games you watch, the more your knowledge expands. NHL scouts don’t watch games like your typical fans do. They’re on the lookout for the determining factors that make a player stand out from the crowd. On average, a scout can watch up to between 200 or 300 games each season, so you can imagine the in-depth understanding of the game you must acquire to be on this level.

Developing Scouting Expertise

Scouts must possess an understanding of what it takes to make a good player. They follow a checklist of points to consider. These include:

  • the hockey player’s size, their speed and their body type
  • their stick and puck-handling
  • their puck control
  • and passing ability

As an NHL Scout, it’s also your job to do your research and keep tabs on the top draft prospects. Draft prospects are those players that are the potential draft favorites for the season. Data and analytics determine the player’s strengths and where they could improve, and often show the player’s skill through heat and score maps, helping make the information more accessible.


How Long Does It Take to Become an NHL Scout?

There is no set timeline to becoming an NHL Scout, as it is up to you to forge your path to success. This is not the kind of job where you fill in an application form and go through a hiring process.

Can You Become a Scout Without Playing Hockey Professionally?

Having a background as a professional hockey player is a bonus when it comes to pursuing a career as a scout, however, it is possible to become a scout without ever having played hockey professionally. You need to be ready to start at the bottom and committed to work yourself up to the top.

What does an NHL scout do?

An NHL scout’s job is to spot talent and recruit the best hockey players in the country to form part of the NHL.

What is the difference between a sports agent and a scout?

Where agents represent their clients and advocate for their talent and careers, scouts act in favor of the clubs they represent, and look to observe and spot players that they believe will make a good addition to the team and its academies.

How do you become a scout for an NHL team?

The best place to start is with hockey teams in colleges, and working your way up to the minor league and then major. The more success you have in your player recommendations and the more growth you make within your professional circle, the more likely it is that a person of a higher authority will gain knowledge of your success and bring you on board as a scout for an NHL team.

How much money does an NHL scout make?

The salary amount varies between $50,000 to $100,000 and is dependent on multiple variables including the team you work for and how long you’ve been scouting.

What education is required to be an NHL scout?

There is no formal education you need to gain to become an NHL scout, however competition for the role is tough, and having and excelling at the necessary skills to do the job can be the defining factor in achieving success. The key skills for the role include proficient knowledge of the game; player evaluation skills, networking skills and research skills, as well as soft skills including effective communication and other interpersonal skills.

How old do you have to be to be a scout in Canada?

There is no specific age requirement to become an NHL scout in Canada, but the job is very competitive and demanding so you’ll need lots of experience, knowledge, and skills based on the sport.

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