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Two More New Scouts, Kelly Kisio and Peter Ward

Let’s start with the name you are more likely to be familiar with, Kelly Kisio. The former NHLer played on the expansion San Jose Sharks in 1991 as well as with the Red Wings, Rangers, and Flames. From 1987-91 he was the Captain of the Rangers.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

He has a unique understanding of the Expansion Draft process having been exposed by the Rangers, selected by the Minnesota North Stars, and traded to the Sharks all on the same day.

His most recent job was as the President of Hockey Operations with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Kisio joins the Las Vegas organization as a Professional Scout where he will utilize that expansion experience to help George McPhee put together his initial roster.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

The other hire is Peter Ward as an Amateur Scout. Ward spent the last year as an agent with highly regarded Newport Sports Management, an agency that represents  30+ NHL players including multiple All Stars.

Previously Ward worked with USA Hockey in the development program as the Director of Player Personnel.

Ward and Kisio become the eighth and ninth members of the organization in the scouting department. Most organizations employ around 20 people to handle scouting.

Kent Hawley Hired As Amateur Scout, Dan Labraaten As European Scout

Kent Hawley is the newest addition to the list of “hockey-lifers” finding their way on to George McPhee’s inaugural front office staff.

The 28th pick of the 2nd round of the 1986 draft spent much of his playing days in the minor leagues, but has had a successful post-playing career as a coach and for the last 15 years a scout.

Since being let go on June 22nd, he’d been with the Edmonton Oilers since 2005 as an amateur scout. He also coached and played for a team in Wisconsin called the Madison Monsters. Suddenly Monsters looks like a nice name for Vegas.

Or, it’s awful and I’m officially beginning to lose my mind with all the team name stuff.

Either way, Hawley appears to be yet another excellent hire to a staff that’s pretty much received nothing but praise from every corner of the hockey world.

**

Also announced today was the hiring of Dan Labraaten as a European Scout. Labraaten spent 28 years with the New Jersey Devils working under Las Vegas’ Special Advidsor to Hockey Operations, David Conte.

He played with the Red Wings, Flames, and internationally with Team Sweden.

Hopefully some of this happens in Vegas with these two.

In 1999, (Conte) asked Devils European scout Dan Labraaten who the best player in Europe was, which led to the Devils signing Brian Rafalski, who played seven seasons with the Devils and won two Stanley Cups. –Ken Campbell, The Hockey News

Las Vegas Hires Peter Ahola As European Scout

Former NHL player, Finnish GM, and top rated water-skier Peter Ahola has been brought on as a European Scout to work with Vojtech Kucera.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

Ahola played in the NHL for three years with the Kings, Penguins, Sharks, and Flames from 1991-94. He was most recently the GM of the Espoo Blues in the Finnish Liiga. Prior to that Ahola served as a European scout with the Maple Leafs from 2004-2006.

I’d tell you more about his team’s successes or failures in Finland, but Google’s ability to translate Finnish into English is spotty at best. One translated sentence featured this, “osapäätös liittyy loppuselvitystä.” There are just so many letters with dots above them. Moving on.

Ahola is the seventh person with the word scout listed in their title. Erin Ginnell. Scott Luce, Bruno Campese, David Conte, Mike Levine, and Kucera.

By the way, it’s pronounced Ah-who-la. Sound smart when you are talking to people about him. Ah-who-la.

Second Former Florida Panther Scout Hired, Scott Luce Named Director of Amateur Scouting

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

Remember when we discussed the Florida Panthers situation in this article, well Las Vegas has scooped up the second of the three people fired in May of this year during the Panthers move to analytics.

Scott Luce, the former Director of Amateur Scouting in Florida has been hired to the same job here.

It really seems like a steal for Las Vegas as they’ve now been able to scoop up two top flight scouts from a team that’s had great success recently identifying young players. One has to wonder if the third person, Mike Dixon, will be next to come on board here.

Luce had been with the Panthers since 2002 and spent time with the Senators and Lightning prior to that. His father Don Luce is also a long time NHL executive spending over 20 years with the Sabres and Flyers.

Yet again, George McPhee adds another highly touted name to his staff, and further proving the point that the loose expansion rules will not only allow Las Vegas to put together a good team, but also a high quality front office.

 

Erin Ginnell, Former Top Scout With Florida Hired As Scout In Vegas

The man who was referred to as the top amateur scout during the time the Florida Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Mike Matheson, just to name a few, is now headed to Las Vegas.

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

Erin Ginnell, who was with the Panthers from 2003 to 2015 has joined George McPhee’s rapidly growing scouting staff. Ginnell was let go from the Panthers organization when Dale Tallon was removed as GM in Florida and “promoted” to President of Hockey Operations.

The move was fueled by the organization’s desire to be more mathematically and analytically focused. Tallon moved “up,” Tom Rowe became GM, and Ginnell, Head of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce, and Director of Hockey Operations Mike Dixon were all let go. This indicates Ginnell did not fit the analytical approach the Panthers were looking for, but the results speak for themselves, so their trash becomes our treasure.

There’s also a pretty strong connection to Murray Craven with Ginnell. He was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada in 1968, four years before Craven. Also born in Medicine Hat was Ginnell’s brother Dan, who is currently a scout with the St. Louis Blues. Medicine Hat is a town of just about 70,000 in 2016, so odds are the Ginnell and Craven families are pretty familiar.

Ginnell becomes the fourth member of the organization whose primary title is as a scout. (Mike Levine, Bruno Campese, David Conte)

Vaughn Karpan Hired As Director of Player Personnel

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

Vaughn Karpan, the former Director of Professional Scouting for the Montreal Canadiens has been hired as Director of Player Personnel with Las Vegas.

He also has a past as an amateur scout with the Jets/Coyotes prior to his time in Montreal.

The titles are all beginning to sound similar as we continue to see McPhee add members to his staff. So, I think it’s time for a recap of everyone who has been hired on the hockey side. (Note: Craven is kind of a liaison between The Creator, hockey ops and business ops)

General Manager – George McPhee
Senior Vice President – Murray Craven
Assistant General Manager – Kelly McCrimmon
Director of Player Development – Wil Nichol
Director of Hockey Operations – Misha Donskov
Special Advisor to Hockey Operations – David Conte
Director of Player Personnel – Vaughn Karpan
Director of Hockey Legal Affairs/Capologist – Andrew Lugerner
Director of Hockey Administration – Katy Boettinger
Director of Goaltending and NHL Goaltender Coach – Dave Prior
Director of European Scouting – Vojtech Kucera 
Amateur Scout – Bruno Campese 

Got it? Ok, good. Cause I’m not doing this again til they hire ten more people.

Vaughn Karpan will always be remembered to me as “the guy’s profile that has the recap of the whole staff.” Congrats Vaughn, you’ve been bookmarked on computers all throughout the valley.

Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Bruno Campese Hired As Amateur Scout

We’ve got some more fresh blood on board, and this time there’s absolutely no connection to the Washington Capitals. Bruno Campese has been hired as an amateur scout likely to be focused on Western Canada and the Northwest United States.

From WHL Media Guide

From WHL Media Guide

Campese, a former goalie selected in the 12th round by the Boston Bruins, was most recently the head coach at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to assuming that role he was the GM and/or head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL from 2008-2015.

We can assume this was a Kelly McCrimmon hire based on his time spent competing against Campese with the Brandon Wheat Kings, also of the WHL.

During his time with the Raiders, Campese had two players drafted in the first round of the NHL draft, Josh Morrissey (#13 in 2013) and Mark McNeill (#18 in 2011).

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