Course Manager

Course Overview

Hockey operations represent the bulk of a franchise’s expenses and have the most significant long term impact on revenues and team equity. As a result, hockey ops have the biggest impact on a franchise’s bottom line both directly (e.g., salaries) and indirectly (i.e., competitive advantage). For this reason, it is essential that every hockey executive have some understanding of hockey operations and the trends that are affecting them.

This course is intended to provide that understanding; it is not intended to turn students into General Managers. The course delves into the essentials for making hockey teams more competitive on the ice with a focus on the costs of being competitive both on and off the ice.  Both traditional and new techniques and tools (i.e., information technologies and recent developments in behavioral psychology) for scouting talent, negotiating player and coach contracts, and trading players effectively are discussed.

The course addresses the impact of free agency, collective bargaining agreements, and salary caps on attaining and maintaining top player talent/personnel and the implications of all of these things on team performance. The role of analytics to improve player and coach performance is explored.  Students are exposed to pertinent legal developments as well as negotiation strategies.  Throughout the course, connections are made between hockey operations and the franchise’s marketing and business strategies so that senior executives and ownership is equipped to keep hockey ops staff and senior management accountable more effectively and in a more timely manner than has traditionally been the case.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate detailed awareness of the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • Describe the organizational structure of an NHL front office.
  • Evaluate young player development options including Canadian Major Junior and U.S. NCAA Hockey.
  • Identify the structure of the minor-league system for the NHL and the relative quality of other leagues around the world.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the rules of the NHL Entry Draft and the process that goes into evaluating talent for the draft.
  • Identify the key properties of a Standard Player’s Contract, rules for Entry Level Deals, the concept of Bridge Contracts, and differences between one-way and two-way player contracts.
  • Evaluate the analytics being used to measure team, skater, and goaltender performance and identify how analytics can be used to build a successful roster.
  • Describe the rules for offer sheets, offer sheet compensation, and salary arbitration.
  • Identify the rules surrounding restricted and unrestricted free agency in the NHL.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the rules of the Team Payroll Range System in establishing the Upper Limit and Lower Limit on team player salaries.
  • Describe the use of injured reserve and waivers as it relates to the roster of an NHL team.