Third Year SPAD student Ben Goodman is the manager of team services and video coach for the LU Varsity Men’s Hockey Team. Ben, through his busy schedule, was able to give us some insight into his role with LU Athletics and took the time to offer up some advice to future and current SPAD students on opportunities within SPAD and LU Athletics.
SB: Tell me about what you do for LU Hockey.
BG: My responsibilities with the Voyageurs are mostly broken down into two components: Hockey Operations and Team Services. On the hockey side, I’m responsible for coordinating all of the team’s video and game tape, as well as managing our statistics team. During each game I use a hockey specific game tape program that cuts the video of certain plays. It helps us find patterns and work on strategies as a coaching staff, which the coaches on the bench relay to the players during and after the game. I also review our opponents’ game tape with the coaching staff, which I download from the OUA’s database. Outside of our own games I scout as much junior hockey as I can, and create detailed reports on all the potential recruits for the next school year from leagues in Ontario to the East Coast.
The team services role involves a lot of collaboration with LU Athletics, and most of the work is done on campus. I highly prioritize student involvement, so I work closely with Athletics on anything from marketing to special events to ticket sales in order to increase the amount of students attending our games. I do all the posting and event creating for the men’s team on the Voyageurs Hockey Facebook page, and I also help our awesome social media crew of SPAD students with the other team accounts that they run.
SB: How did you get your job and what jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
BG: Getting the position I have now was more of a step-by-step process that started in first year. I started working for the team as a Game Day Operations volunteer. I did stats, scorekeeping, playing music…even had to be the mascot a couple of times. Over the course of that year I acquainted myself with Craig (the head coach) and the rest of the coaching staff which led to conversations about what the program needed help with and how I could be more involved. At the end of our first season Craig asked me to be the video coach of the team, since game tape analysis was the most important thing we lacked at the time. I ended up using the position as a PHED internship, which was really convenient. Being the video coach, I spent a lot more time with the team, especially the coaching staff, which gave me the opportunity to be a part of their meetings and contributing my opinion on certain club decisions. As the year went on I gained more responsibilities and even started to travel with the team during our first playoff run. By the end of second year I was having more conversations with Craig about what else I could do to help the program, which led us to creating the position that I have now.
SB: Can you suggest some ways a SPAD student could obtain this necessary experience?
Volunteer! When it comes to gaining initial experience with anything, volunteering your time is the best thing to do. Hockey teams at the university, junior and minor levels will almost never say no to free work. I know that as a program in just its third year, we’re always looking for help.
SB: What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your job? What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging? What do you like and not like about working in the hockey industry?
BG: The best part of my job is simply just being a part of the team. The relationships that I’ve been able to make with players, coaches and staff is invaluable not only to my hockey experience but also my university experience as a whole. Hockey is as much of a team sport off the ice as it is on the ice. We have an amazing group of people here, and they motivate me to be the best that I can be.
The most challenging part of my job is prioritizing ideas. Obviously we want our team to run like it’s an NHL franchise but there’s only so much we can do when it comes to marketing or special events or game day stuff. I try my best to create realistic goals for our team so that no one, including Athletics and myself, is being spread too thin.
I enjoy working in hockey because I love the game. That’s really all it boils down to. I’ve been around hockey my entire life and it never ceases to excite and inspire me.
If there’s one thing that I dislike about working in hockey, it’s that you’re often working when everyone else isn’t. Working for a university hockey team that has a more student-tailored schedule is definitely an upside, but it’s still pretty demanding…from October to March you’re working every Friday and Saturday night with the exception of the December exam freeze. As a student it’s really great to have breaks like reading week and Thanksgiving too, but if you work for a hockey team you often don’t get that luxury.
SB: Are you optimistic about the team’s future and your future?
BG: I’m more than optimistic when it comes to this team. Looking at what we’ve been able to accomplish in just two seasons of existence shows how quickly our core group has meshed, and by adding skill and depth from this year’s recruiting class we look like a true contender…competing for a CIS National Championship is not as unrealistic of a goal as some would think over these next few years.
I believe that my future in the game is bright. I try my best to take advantage of every opportunity given to me, but I also know that patience is very important, especially since I aspire to be working in professional hockey at some point. I’m really excited for things to come, but my main focus right now is the Laurentian Voyageurs and helping this hockey program achieve at its highest potential.
SB: How has your job affected your lifestyle and how do you balance work and SPAD?
BG: As I mentioned before, a hockey schedule is demanding and to be honest, the game has had more of an impact on my lifestyle over the last few years than school or friends and family have. I think I went out with my friends on the weekend maybe four or five times over my first two years of university because every Friday or Saturday I was either working, scouting or catching up on schoolwork that I hadn’t done because I was doing one of those two things during the week. I also help run a junior hockey league in the summer so I’m surrounded by the game for 11 months out of the year. I may have missed out on some quality university experience but I wouldn’t change it for the world…I know exactly what I want to do and I’m going to do everything in my power to try and make it happen.
It’s definitely a challenge to balance such a competitive and academically sound program with a full time hockey job, but I’ve always found a way to keep my head above water. The professors are incredibly understanding as well, and they’ve accommodated for missed class time or rescheduled exams because we were on the road. I like how there’s a relationship between the program and the Voyageurs and I really hope it continues to grow so that the next generation of students get the opportunities that I have had.
SPAD would like to thank Ben for taking the time to speak to us about her past and current experiences. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our current/prospective students to hear about some of the internships and jobs available to SPAD students.