If I wanted a job in Maple Leafs management and I didn’t have management experience but was a veteran hockey player whose days in the NHL as a defenseman might be over, how would I go about getting a job? First, I’d call Brendan Shanahan (assuming I had his number). Second, I’d ask if I could follow him around and see what he does all day (assuming he wants anyone to know what it is he actually does all day.)
In short, I’d do what former Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf is doing.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Phaneuf has been shadowing Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan for the past few days. McKenzie notes that this isn’t Phaneuf hanging up his skates or officially retiring. In fact, Phaneuf would like to land a playing position with an NHL club. No, this is Phaneuf getting a head start for life after his NHL playing days are over, whenever that may be.
“… the reason he is in Toronto is simply to get a look at the business of hockey and he reached out to Brendan Shanahan, asked if he could come in, get a feel for what the whole Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment operation off the ice is all about. That’s what he’s been doing.”
There isn’t word on whether or not the Maple Leafs are lining up any sort of role for Phaneuf within the organization. For now, it appears this is more like Shanahan doing a friend a favor.
Think about it this way; I’d equate it to those times your elementary school class would take a field trip to McDonald’s to see the workers in the kitchen making pancakes. At that age, perhaps you didn’t assume you’d wind up working at McDonald’s when you were older but it’s a lot of people’s first jobs so the odds were pretty good.
In this scenario, the Maple Leafs are the big organization, Phaneuf is on a field trip and Shanahan is flipping pancakes, talking about the machine that mostly runs itself. All the while, Phaneuf is planting seeds around the NHL where he knows people will catch wind of what he’s doing.
The NHL is still very much a league of executives that know each other, much like an Old Boys Club. If Phaneuf can plant the seeds now and with the Maple Leafs the center of the hockey universe, someone will hear he’s looking for a gig and he’ll probably get a phone call.
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