Chris Pryor

So you want to scout?

By Chris Pryor


The life of an amateur scout in the NHL might look somewhat glamorous looking in from the outside, but when you’re in their shoes, at times it is anything but that. However, If you were to poll the 30 teams’ amateur staffs, I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t trade their job for anything. To watch hockey and to get paid while doing it might look like the perfect job – and for the most part it is – but it doesn’t come without hard work and a lot of sacrifice.

Having just returned from watching the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia (you might have to get the map out), it really makes you appreciate what these guys go through. Giving up the majority of their holiday to fly halfway across the world isn’t easy. It’s not only a 12-hour time change (Central time)  but a two-day traveling affair each way there and back. It didn’t matter if you flew through Moscow, Prague or Istanbul, it was a journey. From dollars to rubles and daylight to dark, it’s quite the contrast.  

Once there, the hockey was phenomenal and from a scouting perspective, one of the best tournaments a scout will have a chance to see. One could make an argument that there might have been the top 10 draft eligible players in attendance and all under one roof. It’s one thing to have them all there and it’s another one to get them in a numerical order (1-10) and that’s where the scouting job becomes complicated.

You could poll all the scouts there in attendance and to a man they would probably have a different order and only time will tell who was right and who was wrong. To try to project what a 17-18 year-old young man will be when he is 25 is very difficult as you can imagine. There are so many factors that play into their development that it can become very confusing to the outside eye. But to these guys, it’s their livelihood and what they get paid for. Yes, they are wrong sometimes, but that will happen in any sport where you are trying to predict what kids will be when they are men.

Overall, I take my hat off to the scouting profession as a whole for not only the hard work they put into finding talent, but for the sacrifices they give up on the home front for the job they love to do and for the ultimate prize they are all aspiring to achieve, the Stanley Cup.

Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders. If you have a question for a pro hockey scout, e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..