"One of this continent's master craftsmen of sporting prose" ( Sports Illustrated ) and three-time National Magazine Award-winner Gare Joyce goes undercover to learn the secrets of NHL scouts.
Veteran sports writer Gare Joyce realizes a long-held secret ambition as he spends a full season embedded as a hockey scout. Joyce's year on the hockey beat is a steep learning curve for him; NHL scouts spend each season gathering information on players fighting it out to break into the world of professional hockey. They watch hundreds of games, speak to scores of players, parents, team-mates and other scouts, amassing profiles on all the top contenders. It's a form of risk assessment-is this young hopeful deserving of a multi-million dollar contract?-and it can be a tough and thankless task. Scouts are ground into the game, picking up nuances of play that even the most committed fan would miss, but they are looking at more than just how well a kid can play. And come the final draft, only a tiny percentage of their full year's work might matter.
Examining the amount of information gathered on the under-eighteen hopefuls, the scrutiny to which they are subjected, and the differences between the rigour of American and Canadian junior teams, Joyce opens a window on the life and methods of an NHL scout and penetrates the mysterious world of scouting as no one has before.