4 min read

Pivot #24: Remote in hockey, Commit, and Jeff Carter Retired

Pivot #24: Remote in hockey, Commit, and Jeff Carter Retired

1st Period - Working Remote in Hockey

Many pro hockey players jump into hockey operations in some capacity, attempting to climb the ranks of an NHL organization. Players typically jump into some sort of scouting or player development role. If a player really wants to make a run at a career in the front office of a hockey club, they should consider where they call home base. All else equal, it’s super important to live in the same city as the NHL club. 

Businesses across all industries are dealing with the work from home trend post-pandemic. Slowly employees are realizing the career benefits of being in the office. Face time with senior colleagues, unplanned learning opportunities, interacting with peers, among other benefits. Bottomline is if you interact with key decision makers regularly, those decision makers will recognize you and progress you along in your career. As I’ve mentioned in past newsletters, there’s one giant career experiment taking place. It’s the easiest career arbitrage for anyone that wants to boost their professional aspirations and is willing to move out of the house. 

Retired players scaling the hockey industry can apply the same lesson. If you work in player development for a NHL team and live in the same city as the NHL team you work for, you are in much better shape than your colleague doing the same thing that lives out of market. Get close to the brass. Be in the war room. Not only are you going to learn more, but you’ll get key people in hockey in your corner. Strategically think through your career aspirations, even if you are pursuing hockey. What’s my role? Where should I live? Do I have to sacrifice my personal life? 

You should pursue a career in hockey with the same intention as non-hockey careers. If you just accept any job on a whim with an aimless approach, hockey will leave you wandering. 

2nd Period - Stand Out by COMMITTING

The college transfer portal is wild. It’s pretty much free agency every off-season in college football. The player movement hasn’t quite jumped the shark in college hockey, but college hockey coaches are adding General Manager to their job descriptions. The Rink Live has a great Google Sheet, breaking down all the players in the portal.

311 players entered the portal this off-season, so far. There are approximately 1,472 players in DI hockey, which means about 21% of rosters are turning over via the portal. Add in a freshman class of 5-6 players, and you can see how half a college hockey roster can turn over each season. Next season is the last year for players to have a fifth season of Covid eligibility, so I expect transfer frequency to reduce moving forward. Nonetheless, roster continuity and building team camaraderie is becoming a rarer commodity. 

You know what would be music to a coach’s ears right now? A recruit telling a coach that they want to commit to building a program. That would make you stand out from a crowd. I should caveat all this by saying that I am extremely pro-player and think the transfer portal is a net positive for college hockey. Having said that, beware of following the crowd, and transferring at the first instance of adversity. 

Players are looking out for themselves more and more, which is a good thing and about time. But some reverse psychology may actually be the better tactic for self-preservation. As a recruit, bring a team-first, program building mindset. Make clear you do not want to transfer. You want to build lifelong friendships with teammates at your one and only alma mater. You want to be part of building a winner. Coaches want that. Those are coveted qualities. 

3rd Period - Jeff Carter Retired

World Junior gold, Olympic gold, over 1,300 NHL games, 851 points, and two Stanley Cups. An enviable hockey career by any standard and $75 million in earnings to boot. After leaving the ice for the last time in the NHL, reporters followed Carter into the locker room and asked him what’s next. After a multi-decade grind, Carter logically replied he’s going to take some time and focus on being a dad. A well-deserved break, for sure. 

Financial stress likely won’t be an issue, and Carter's financial cushion allows him to take as long as he wants to figure out his life. The summer will feel normal because Carter is still following the natural rhythm of the offseason. However, the carpool line will get old and your wife will likely get sick of you hanging around the house sooner than later. He will have to figure it out eventually. 

I think it’s fascinating that people assume Carter will go into hockey operations. Reporters ask about it, Mike Sullivan seems to have referenced it before, and Carter certainly seems open to it, as he should be. What I hope Jeff contemplates is all the other options he has at his disposal. He’s won at every level. He’s won short-form tournaments, he’s grinded through long championship seasons. Experiences that would be valuable to teams of all kinds. For all we know, Carter has plenty going on off-ice that he declines to disclose publicly. The world is Carter’s oyster and I hope he takes time to realize that. I’m curious what resources he confides in to figure it out. Carter will be one to keep tabs on to see how his post-playing career unfolds.

Game Notes

  • Here are 10 questions I used to get hired at JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Citi - X
  • Millennials Are Coming for Your Golf Communities - WSJ
  • Powell Dials Back Expectations on Rate Cuts - WSJ
  • Erik Karlsson's wild pre-game meal - X
  • 15 Stocks That Have Destroyed the Most Wealth Over the Past Decade - Morningstar
  • Tesla will lay off more than 10% of global workforce - CNBC
  • AI may make IB analyst roles redundant - NYT
  • OpenAI's Altman pitches ChatGPT Enterprise to large firms - Reuters

Thanks for reading.