Bob Loblaw asked in SportsHockey · 1 decade ago

Sports GM's?

I was thinking about the Toronto Maple Leafs GM situation and hearing alot of the names being tossed around as possible candidates and it got me thinking.

Do you think that (not necessarily the Maple Leafs situation but any NHL GM) a lifetime of being around hockey is a must?

What really got me pondering this is some other major sports GM's who have had amazing success for the mere fact that they are young, bright minds with high IQ's. Let's face it, if you surround yourself with good scouting and some good hockey minds then it may be the way to go, just hire a experience is not a must.

Some of the smart wonderkid GM's out there like-

Boston Red Sox- Theo Epstein-look at his success and he is still a baby..I think he played a little college ball but that's it.

NY Yankees- Brian Cashman

NE Patriots- Scott Pioli

Philadelphia Eagles- Tom Heckert


My point is, if you just took some high IQ kid from Harvard who knew hockey just somewhat, surround him with hockey people......good idea or bad? Worked for the BoSox. Seems to me, they might have some better ideas than some of these dinasaurs being discussed these days. I mean Scotty Bowman? Cliff Fletcher? These guys are 70+ years old.

I think some teams could at least start grooming some of these guys as football does.

Update 2:

MNW- That is interesting. Not really an answer to my Q but interesting nonetheless.

Update 3:

Joe- We know unlimited cash doesn't necessarily mean success. In fact some big spending teams have sucked for years and in hockey, look at the NYR pre-lock-out and with my NFL examples, they do have a salary cap and yet these guys are considered a couple of the brightest young minds. Not too sure about their backgrounds however.

Also, look at the BoSox pre- Epstein. There is no doubt that he has been a catalyst to their success.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I believe you need to either have one person with a hockey background and business smarts OR a hockey person working in union with a person with a strong business acumen. LITY stole my thunder a little bit with Paul Holmgren, the man has an MBA from Wharton, one of the most prestigious business schools in the country.

    Given the complexities of modern day sports, it's essential that the two worlds meet.

  • In theory, any person who knows the game could be a good GM. All it takes is some common sense.

    A General Manager for a hockey team is nothing more than a General Manager for any company. He is employed with a plan and his job is to execute that plan as best he can.

    The owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs want to

    a) win the Stanley Cup

    b) make money

    Despite what people will say here, the amount of b) is larger when a) occurs.

    Harold Ballard, Steve Stavros, and Lawrence Tanenbaum all have a business plan. Win games, make money.

    In the case of Lawrence Tanenbaum his empire includes the Leafs, Raptors, Marlies, Ricoh Centre, and Air Canada Centre. As such, he hires somebody to run each of those entities. In the case of the Leafs and Marlies, that person is Richard Peddie. Peddie's job is to over see each of those entities and to further carry out those plans. While we all knock Peddie, he had an outstanding career in the Food Services industry before coming aboard. Peddie in return hires a GM for the Marlies and another for the Leafs. Each of these people should be well versed in contract negotiations.

    Traditionally, there are two men responsible for the hockey team these days.

    - the GM is responsible for the day to business operations of the club

    - the Director of Player Personnel is responsible for the development and maintenance of the players in the system.

    The GM is responsible for all finances, etc.

    People like Pat Quinn and Paul Holmgren (and Stu Grimson) are the future of hockey. These are people who have a hockey background and have also realized that having a legal/business nackground is an added bonus.

    Recently, in a landslide vote Brian Burke was chosen as the best GM by his peers. He's a man who played hockey (at Providence under Lou Lamoriello) and then went to a small law school (Harvard) to get a law degree. He has turned that dual experience into a successful GM stint in Hartford (they made the playoffs every year), a successful GM stint in Vancouver, a successful GM stint in Anaheim, as a well as preceding Colin Campbell as NHL disciplinarian.

    Note: Burke took advantage of the Providence experience................JFJ............did not.

    So, I think when looking at the success of Burke (among others) that educated people with a hockey background will become the norm instead of ex-hockey players.

  • 1 decade ago

    Depends on the individual and his ability to adapt to the evolution of the game and the business that surrounds it.

    That's why football coaches like Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Don Shula, and recently, Joe Gibbs retired. The game evolved and they couldn't adapt.

    It seems to me that the ideal GM would have at least 20 years in and around the game and not older than say 45. But one cannot go solely by the numbers. Many intangibles can be the difference between the Cup or 2nd place.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think Drew Carey may be onto something He just became part-owner of the new Seattle MLS franchise to begin play next yr and convinced the others involved to let the fans determine every four yrs whether or not the GM keeps their jobs since the team is for the fans I think it could be a brilliant idea and all sports should adopt this since fans are the reason teams stay in business

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Cashman and Epstein look like geniuses because they have a limitless amount of cash to work with.

    Bob-Year after year players are lined up to play for those two teams and the Mets(Minaya) and Braves(Scherholtz) so it is easier for those GM's.I wonder how they would do in Pittsburgh.Although Theo is very impressive to me.

    I do hear you that Just because you do have money doesn't necessarily mean success.

  • 1 decade ago

    It sounds plausible to me. I think a lot of older GMs want to think in terms of the way hockey used to be, whereas a casual fan with savvy business sense or lots of scouts could pick out the best moves. A GM can't account for several good players having mediocre seasons or no-name players having break out years whether they have been around hockey forever or just a little.

  • 1 decade ago

    it would work. bo sox got 2 titles in last 3-4 years. doesnt seem like it would happen in hockey though.

    while were throwing names around, how bout MARK CUBAN? lmao

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    cliff fletcher

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