Now comes the hard part, finding the right person to replace Mike Kelly as the next general manager of the Guelph Storm.
The team is at a crossroads. It needs to bring in the right person for the right time. It needs to hire someone with the vision to move the team forward from the wasteland of the past two seasons and, just as importantly, a person with the freedom and mandate to exercise that plan.
I’ve always felt it is the owner’s job is to hire a general manager. A general manager’s job is to hockey operations, hire a coach and scouting staff. A coach hires his assistants.
All have earned the right to have input into all those things, but at the end of the day the decision lies in the proper hands.
Kelly’s departure has been known internally for some time, so there is the possibility that his successor has already been found.
Kelly, who has seen over 400 minor hockey games in the past year, will handle the draft along with the existing scouting staff, then the new person takes over. Makes sense, it’s too late to bring someone else in to call the shots.
But it’s unlikely the new person is waiting in the wings.
There would be plenty of people interested in being general manager of the Storm and several of those would currently be working elsewhere. The end of the hockey year would free up several qualified candidates.
There will be some awfully good candidates out there they don’t yet know about.
The team would realize this and, with no rush to find the replacement, would be doing a disservice to itself if it at least didn’t wait to see who might be interested.
The conspiracy theorists will have their say.
Craig Hartsburg, displaced as an associate coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets a year ago, has been scouting for the team. He was at both Guelph Storm home games last weekend. The first two Guelph Storm home games I have seen him at since he was coaching the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Does co-owner Scott Walker want to return to an increased role with the team? I would assume the GM job would be his, if he wanted it.
Both obviously qualified.
What the team needs to decide is if it goes for a young, up and coming executive who has been cutting their teeth at a lower level or slightly lower position, or bring in an experienced hockey person with a proven resume.
That decision may have already been made.