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The Evolving Role of the General Manager in Tier III Junior Hockey Junior Hockey News

Published: Sunday, 11 Sep 2016  
By: Frank Scarpaci



The General manager would also represent the team at league meetings, attend to all league matters and governance, partake in league committees, ensure adherence to league rules, regulations and policies.  The GM would also assist in the procurement of host families, schedule league games, select showcase options, establish, create and maintain a team’s internet website.  The GM would occasionally initiate and or negotiate trades. 

These perfunctory responsibilities are often performed by a number of individuals in an origination dependent on the various organizational personnel chart. Some of the more established programs have invested in a scouting staff, assistant GM’s and game day operators to assist in the provision of Fasthockey, Add Drops, Billet coordinators, sponsorship sales personnel etc.  

The Florida Eels Junior program has revolutionized the position into its modern era that focuses its attention to placement of its players to the “Next Level”.  The problem with the traditional role is exactly what the name says “General Manager” The job should not be “general” but rather specific. The Eels coined the new role to one that more accurately reflects the position:  “Director of College Placement.”

The Florida Eels are extremely unique in its organizational structure. In fact the structure was put in place specifically designed to accentuate the new role: Director of College Placement.”

The Eels have a full time head coach for each of its Elite and USP3 teams. It has an assistant coach for each of its teams as well. By the same token each of the head coaches also operates as assistant coaches on the other team. The Elite coach, Frankie Scarpaci III also is the assistant GM whose responsibility is to ensure a synergy of systems and player development. He has a key role in the movement of players within the organization. He also works very closely with the Eels midget coaches and its players as well as the association’s high school teams and players. He attends at least one of the midget practices each week and one high school game or practice to keep his hand on the pulse of the organization's player development.

By delegating many key responsibilities from the GM to his coaches, GM Frank Scarpaci is able to spend almost 80-90% of his daily activates assisting his players in their college search, applications, financial aid forms, college letters, obtaining transcripts, producing video clips and college visits and tours. The responsibilities of   Director of College Placement” is a full time job and he takes it quite serious. In fact GM Scarpaci travels to a 2-3 colleges the beginning of each month and then again 2-3 more colleges in the middle of every month in the Northeast and Midwest essentially marketing and promoting his players. Spots on teams are very limited on NCAA teams be it Division I II or III. College coaches cannot possibly see the vast number of players playing juniors. So we do what we can to bring their highlights and packages to them.

The scorecard in college advancement here is as important as the scorecard in the standings of his team says GM Scarpaci. In fact, he maintains it is even more important.  In fact isn’t this what parents’ want: Getting their son into college right?

Look at the results:
24 players advanced to college hockey this past season
2 players advanced to minor pro hockey
20+ players advanced to college over the past 4 seasons
175 alumni advanced to college
4 alumni drafted into the NHL
12 alumni advanced to the QMJHL OHL USHL, NAHL, BCHL, and CHL.

Now that is impressive. Yes that is exactly what parents’ want and that is why the Eels focus so much on moving our players to the “Next Level”

It is not all about sales. GM Scarpaci is very demanding on his coaches and staff as well as his players. In coordination with his coaches, he has laid out a formula that parallels NCAA college teams and the USA Hockey NTPD program for training. He believes it is second to none. 

This includes:
On ice 1½ hours per day practice 5 days per week 40 weeks per year. 300 hours of ice.
Off ice hockey specific strength and conditioning at World Gym with the coaching staff that is 5 days per week 40 weeks per year. 300 hours of off ice training. 
Total 600 hours of training This is double the amount of time most teams provide. The Eels also provide 2 hours of postgame video critique. Analyzing strengths and weaknesses of individual players and as a team
2-3 hours of pregame tapes analyzing upcoming games, teams and their players.
Partaking in 5 USPHL college showcases. 3 in Massachusetts.2 in the Southeast 250+ combined scouts in attendance at the 5 showcases.
Partaking in 4 post-season showcases for additional maximum exposure and visibility garnering 200+ scouts in attendance.
As you can see this is a very unique operation the Eels have created indeed. The role of the GM has been piloted to that of “ Director of College Placement” We think so many teams have allowed this responsibility to be assumed by the so-called family advisors. That comes at a pretty hefty price tag for many families. Some of those advisors are pretty good but others not so much. With the Eels we get our arms around this function and work at it just as hard as our players play…to get results for our players. The dedication and determination is tireless. Look at the numbers 175 and climbing. Here again, like its phenomenal training program that consist of 600 hours of intense training per year, and as a leader in advancing its players to college, the Eels once again take a bold move in its front office. 

We look forward to another exciting season. One that will be judged far more than wins and losses. Our yard stick and report card is a reflection on how we perform in developing our players skill set and then how we perform in to the moving players to the  “Next Level” and how many  we advance to college.




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