The Toronto Maple Leafs have continued their renovation of the scouting and player development/player personnel departments today by announcing some new hires and some promotions.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has elevated Scott Pellerin to the role of Senior Director of Player Development and Stéphane Robidas to the club’s Director of Player Development, in addition to hiring Hayley Wickenheiser as the club’s Assistant Director of Player Development. The Maple Leafs have also hired Noelle Needham as an Amateur Scout based in the Midwestern United States and Victor Carneiro as an Amateur Scout based in Ontario.
Scott Pellerin, who we have got to know a little as fans when he runs the post-draft prospect camp is now the Senior Director of Player Development. He is now the top man in charge of this department.
Stéphane Robidas, we all know, as we’ve seen him go from appearing at the rookie tournament one year manning a clipboard, to being a feature at Marlies practices, is the man many of the Marlies defenders have metioned as their mentor in their development. He is now the Director of Player Development, and given the Marlies’ performance this past year, this looks like a good choice.
He has a new assistant. Hayley Wickenheiser, who was at the Leafs prospect camp this summer, where she dropped the news that she might be in line for a permanent job with the Leafs, has been brought in to work with Robidas and Pellerin.
She revealed that Dubas invited her to camp a few months ago, and that they’d talked a few times since then. As well, she indicated that she’d be open to a continuing relationship with the Leafs, if it made sense. Her focus is on individual player development more than bench coaching, although she said that she thought there were a few women who would be both able and willing to step behind an NHL bench.
Her hockey career is epic, spans a lot of years, and can’t possibly be summarized here, but she is a smart and capable person who has the sort of drive to succeed most of us can’t imagine. I’d love to tell you her career earnings as a player so we could marvel at her determination.
The Leafs weren’t done with just those announcements, however, the added some more scouts as well.
Noelle Needham has been named as a scout in the US.
Needham joins the Maple Leafs as an amateur scout in the Midwestern United States region having spent the past nine years running Legend Hockey in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is also the co-founder of the Sioux Falls Power Tier I hockey club, which has teams ranging from the U14 to U18 levels. Needham played collegiate hockey at Minnesota State University, Mankato from 2004-07 following six years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School in Faribault, Minnesota.
Needham helps fill in the picture for the Leafs in the key hockey region of America. She has lived and breathed hockey her whole life, and is exactly the kind of person a smart organization makes a scout.
She is not the first woman to ever hold a job like this. But since 1992 and now, the number of women hired by NHL teams for this position we can find is zero.
This is from the GM of the Chicago Steel of the USHL:
When I first heard the Leafs hired Noelle Needham I was more excited than any time I’ve gotten a new job myself. Noelle is extremely smart, tough, works her ass off & goes about her business w/ humility. I admire her greatly & would be honored to work for her someday. #StatusQuo https://t.co/8v0LFWHqF2— Ryan Hardy (@ryanphardy) August 23, 2018
The Leafs have also added to their Ontario scouting with the now-ubiquitous hire of someone who used to work in the Soo. Victor Carneiro was actually a scout for the London Knights for longer than he was with the Greyhounds.
Carneiro comes to the Maple Leafs as an amateur scout in Ontario after spending the last five seasons as the Director of Player Personnel for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. Carneiro also spent three seasons as a Toronto Area scout for Sault Ste. Marie before being promoted to Director of Player Personnel in July of 2013. Prior to joining the Greyhounds organization, he spent 14 seasons working as a scout for the London Knights (OHL).
The Maple Leafs now list 26 names as part of their scouting department, and there is no reason to think they are done hiring. Watch out hockey players, if you’re on the ice, someone from the Leafs is watching you.