Sunday, January 9, 2011


EJ McGuire, director of Central Scouting for the NHL, was, last year, the first hockey player/coach selected for Brockport's Athletic Hall of Fame. He was in WNY last week for the World Juniors and the Metro Community News of Buffalo ran this story about EJ...

EJ McGuire has seen his fare share of hockey talent over the years.

The director of Central Scouting for the National Hockey League, the First Ward native knows how to pick out the cream of the crop.

That’s why it was a treat for the Bishop Timon-St. Jude hockey team when McGuire came out to a recent practice to talk to the young men about what it takes to make it to the next level.

McGuire, however, just didn’t chat with the boys he also helped run practice – the same way the NHL teams run practice.

“I told my lifelong friend Gene (Overdorf) that I would like to get back on the ice. I haven’t been on the ice in a couple of years,” he said while taking a break from practice. “Last time I was at Caz there wasn’t a roof here. They were choosing ends for the wind end and the snow end. It’s a long time since I have been here and the first time I have been here since the roof was on.”

McGuire and Overdorf (Timon’s coach) go way back to the days of playing hockey at Brockport. After his playing days were over, McGuire took up coaching – first as a head coach with Brockport before landing a job as an assistant with Mike Keenan and the Philadelphia Flyers.

While with the Flyers, Keenan and his staff enjoyed success as the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup. They also dealt with tragedy with the death of star goaltender Pelle Lindbergh.

“I happened to meet a guy named Mike Keenan in Rochester and volunteered for him,” explained McGuire. “He gave me a call and said I just got hired by the Philadelphia Flyers would you like to be my assistant. That first year with a goalie named Pelle Lindbergh we were in the Stanley Cup finals in 1984. Pelle was killed in a drinking and driving incident that next November. A year later we were in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals with a guy named Ron Hextall.”

After taking assistant jobs with the Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators and Flyers (again) and head coaching jobs with the Maine Mariners, Guelph Storm and Hartford Wolfpack, McGuire took on a new task as vice president with the NHL.

There he is the director of NHL Central Scouting, the bureau that ranks prospects for the upcoming draft.

He usually has his input on the rankings and is a desired interfere by NHL media around the rankings time and the draft.

He says with the recent success of local kids like Tim Kennedy and Pat Kane people should expect big things from the city.

“I think the skies the limit for the city of Buffalo. For Western New York and extends right through Rochester,” explained McGuire. “I really think not only are more and more kids going to come out of here, but stay here longer. Believe me if a major junior program thinks a kid is good enough they will reach in here and grab them out of here. But the NCAA college programs are becoming more cognizant of good hockey players coming out of WNY. And I am proud to say that I am from WNY.”

While taking the time to give the Timon team some lessons, McGuire will still have his eye on the premier junior tournament that is taking place in Buffalo right now.

The World Junior Tournament is the best of the best the hockey world has to offer and Buffalo was the destination for the event.

He also has advice for the local kids who are starting to end up on everybody’s radar as the travel and high school seasons are in full swing.

“It may seem like a cop out but fit,” said McGuire. “The one that is appropriate for them. The skill level and where they want to play. I could have gone to the University of Michigan, but not play hockey. You have to go where you are going to get a lot of ice time. You have to do your homework so you know that you are going to get ice time. You have to get advice from coaches that who knows the skill level of where you are going to go. You don’t want to over shoot your boundary, because sitting on the bench at a high-powered program your improving your skills very much.”