Hard work, dedication lands Harris position with NHL's Blue Jackets

Jason Malloy jmalloy@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on September 4, 2014

Scott Harris is the scouting co-ordinator for the Columbus Blue Jackets. “It’s just like a hockey player,” he said. “You continuously have to prove yourself and show you want to get better.”

©Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy

Scott Harris always knew he wanted to work in pro sports.

While studying sports management at Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L., he reached out to a few places, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, to do his internship. There were naysayers in St. John’s at the time.

“They all thought I was crazy,” Harris said. “I was basically encouraged to try and find something local.”

The teenager was persistent and in May 2007 he received a four-month unpaid internship with the NHL team. He stayed on for the rest of the year and worked with Chris MacFarland, Don Boyd and the scouting staff.

“I basically did whatever I could, whatever they wanted, even if it was getting coffee,” the North Tryon native said.

He completed his schooling online while doing salary depth charts and statistical studies. He finished up his work at the NHL Draft and came home to the Island.

“I went from watching hockey to breaking down stats to coming back and working in potato fields,” Harris said. “It showed me, and taught me, exactly what it was I wanted to do.”

That fall, he went back to school for a month before receiving a call from Columbus offering him a job as the assistant video scout for the 2008-09 season.

He jumped, and hasn’t looked back.

“I don’t have a big playing background. I don’t come from a big hockey family, but it’s been my passion and my desire to work in the NHL,” Harris said. “My goal is to become a general manager and that’s what I am going to work extremely hard towards.”

He credited guys like Jim Clark, Jim Rankin and George Matthews for their help in those early days.

Clark was the assistant general manager when Harris went to Columbus for his internship. Clark said Harris was a bright, articulate young man who was capable in many areas and worked well with other people.

“He brought a certain skill set in terms of video and analytics and (we were) just trying to complement what our scouting staff was doing out on the road,” Clark recalled. “He was able to impress people above him with his work ethic.”

Harris said he started the amateur video scouting department. They broke down about 250 games of video the first year.

Now, with an increased staff, they are breaking down four times as many game tapes.

The 28-year-old Harris, the son of Jim and Marion, is now the team’s scouting co-ordinator. He said there are opportunities out there for capable people if they are willing to work hard.

“You have to separate yourself from everyone else if you really want to do it,” he said. “You have to go in with an attitude that you want to learn and improve every single day.”

Harris said he has also been fortunate to work with people like John Davidson, Jarmo Kekalainen, Bill Zito and MacFarland as well as the team’s amateur and pro scouts, as he grows in his chosen profession.