It has been a few weeks since it was announced that Greyhounds general manager Kyle Dubas had been hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The only question that now remains is who will replace Kyle and lead the program that he has built up the past 3 years? With the talent that has been assembled and the brand equity that has been created by the Hounds with parents and young player this has now become a premier job in the OHL in spite of its obvious geographical limitations.
I have decided to take a look at some potential candidates to see who could be a possible fit to lead the Hounds. While those who are lazy in the main stream media seem to pin advance stats on Kyle as his core competency what really set him apart was his open mindedness towards information in the player evaluation process and his ability to sell Sault Ste. Marie to prospective players and their parents. If you can’t sell the Greyhounds or the city to players and their parents it will be hard to attract top end talent to the city as Hounds fans know. Kyle did a fantastic job of capitalizing on his top picks both in the priority selection as well as the import draft. This has in turn allowed him to make in roads with top players from the USA as we are now seeing an influx of those players commit to the program.
The Internal Candidates
Wes Clark – Director of Player Development
Why is he listed? – Wes was brought on as the director of player development by the Hounds 2 years ago. He co-owns the Athlete Training Centre in Mississauga, ON and has played a significant role in the development of the Hounds most recent draft picks. He also discovered Michael Bunting on the GTHL Major Midget loop and Keigan Goetz in the OJHL this past season.
Potential road blocks – The ATC recently opened a newer and much larger facility this season so it remains to be seen if this is the next step he would like to take and if so if he wants to do it so quickly after opening the new facility.
Victor Carneiro – Director of Scouting
Why is he listed – Has been around the OHL for almost 20 years in various roles from game day operations with the London Knights to a Scout with the Knights. Victor was brought on by previous GM Dave Torrie to be the Greyhounds GTHL scout before being promoted to Director of Scouting last season by Kyle Dubas. Among independent scouts Victor is often touted as one of the hardest working and most active scouts in minor midget rinks.
Potential road blocks – There are no glaring road blocks that stick out to me.
Sheldon Keefe – Head Coach
Why is he listed – Sheldon is the Head Coach of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and before taking the job he was owner/coach/general manager of the Pembroke LumberKings of the CCHL. He has quickly proven to be one of the top coaches in the OHL even if the leagues award ballot fails to recognize him.
Potential road blocks – Holding a duo role in the CCHL or even a GTA based OHL team is one thing but there are certain challenges about running a team in Sault Ste Marie that will be hard to overcome if someone were in a dual role.
Jim Roque – Ex Head Coach of Lake Superior State University
Why is he listed – Despite significant complaints from their fan base Jim Roque is the recently let go head coach of the Lake Superior State Lakers located in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. Similar to the Greyhounds the Lakers have certain geographical challenges when it comes to recruiting top talent to their program. In spite of this Jim was always able to ice competitive teams and did a fantastic job of developing talent and sending them to the next level (AHL/NHL). The role of an NCAA head coach is similar to that of an OHL GM with recruiting as well as running a program. Should he wish to pursue the job Jim would actually be rather qualified for the position.
Potential road blocks – Being an NCAA guy the question would be if he wants to make the jump to the OHL. Also as a coach would he want to go the GM route or would he rather hold on for a head coaching job.
Dave Brown – Assistant Director of Hockey Operations Erie Otters
Why is he listed – A well respected OHL executive with the Erie Otters. Spent 5 seasons as GM of the Niagara Ice Dogs. One of the men widely regarded as being responsible for the turnaround of the Erie Otters.
Potential road blocks – Would the Erie Otters want him to move? If he is the heir to the GM chair held by Sherrie Bassin he may want to stick around for that job.
Peter Kneulman – Writer for OHLwriters.com
Why is he listed – Because he is the writer of this article and can do whatever he wants. A self described smart ass. Owns The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri. Graduate of Algoma Univeristy in Sault Ste Marie where he was awarded for his critical thinking and problem solving skills at his business graduation awards banquet.
Potential road blocks – While he owns the Extra 2% he has yet to read it as he has been distracted by other books, most recently Jonah Keri’s newest book Up, Up, Up and Away about the Montreal Expos. Has 0 experience running a hockey team.
In my opinion this will most likely be an internal higher as there is an internal candidate that I personally rank ahead of all others. That said you can’t discount the advantages to an external higher that could bring new ideas into the fold. After all the open-mindedness needed for advanced stats and player evaluation also extends to potential benefits of an external hire. Regardless of who gets hired the most important thing to do is to continue to build on the brand equity that Kyle has built with both players and parents.