2013Feb 22

SPAD Internship Profile: Justin Simpson – Director of Hockey Operations with the Providence College Friars

Justin Simpson_pic copyBy SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

Fourth year SPAD student, Justin Simpson is currently completing his internship at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island as the Director of Hockey Operations for the women’s varsity hockey team.  Justin is the first SPAD student sent to Providence College and Justin was kind enough to help us document his experience so far.

Q:  Working in Providence is an atypical internship destination for SPAD students.  How did you come across the position, what motivated you to apply, and how has your experience been at Providence College?

A:  My cousin, Brittany Simpson, played hockey at Providence College for four years and was team captain in her senior year.  During my third year at Laurentian University I started looking for internships, specifically in hockey operations where I then emailed every team in the Ontario Hockey League as well as Canadian Interuniversity Sport, but was unable to find an internship opportunity.

That same year, at our family Christmas dinner, Brittany and I talked about what I wanted to do for my internship.  After expressing my passion for hockey operations and the fact that I was unable to find an internship in that field, she said she would talk to Bob Deraney for me.  Bob is the head coach of the Providence College Women’s Hockey team, who Brittany played for during her time at PC.  I was fortunate because Bob and the Women’s Hockey program were looking to hire the program’s first ever Director of Hockey Operations.  Bob and I emailed back and forth for a while and spoke on the phone a couple of times.  I also met him while he was recruiting in Toronto and was offered the position soon after.

My experience at Providence College has been amazing.  I couldn’t have asked for a better internship and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity of a lifetime to jump-start my career in the hockey industry.

Q:  Your title is Director of Hockey Operations, which can certainly cover a variety of duties.  What exactly are your responsibilities at Providence College and what would you typically do on or in preparation for a game day?

A:  The Director of Hockey Operations position is basically a hybrid of an entry level coaching position and a management position.  On the hockey side of things, I am the video coordinator.  This involves using STEVA Hockey Pro during games to clip significant events that happen on the ice for the coaching staff to review in between periods and after the game.  I also manage our video database and control video exchanges with other teams for pre-scouting opponents.  After our games I break down the video even further and control the video program during team video sessions.  I also manage our recruit database, which involves entering the coaches’ scouting reports and any additional information they have on prospects when they return from recruiting trips.

On the business side of things I work directly with the marketing department to promote and grow the sport of women’s hockey, which can be a challenge at times.  I coordinate the team’s travel, meal, and lodging plans.  I also supervise our game event staff members who sell merchandise, programs, and concessions.  They also video tape our games and track statistics for the team as well.

These are my main responsibilities but I also have many other duties on both the hockey operations side of our organization as well as the business side.

Q:  How have you applied the knowledge you’ve gained in SPAD to your position at Providence College?

A:  SPAD helped prepare me for this position in a number of ways.  I think the demands and deadlines SPAD places on their students ensure they know how to use their time effectively and how to meet a strict deadline.

In my position at Providence College I always have numerous things on the go, similar to in SPAD having exams, presentations, papers and much more.  I’ve had to be very organized to know what needs to be completed in the short term but also what needs to be finished in the long term.  I also believe that with the amount of group work and presentations required of SPAD students, my interpersonal skills have improved drastically since my first year.  This has made meeting important figures in the hockey industry that much easier and speaking to large groups (Providence College students, the team, community/high school teams, and community kids) much more comfortable.

Justin Simpson (back row, far right) and the 2012-2013 Providence College Friars women's hockey team.

Justin Simpson (back row, far right) and the 2012-2013 Providence College Friars women’s hockey team.

Q:  You have experience working in both amateur and professional hockey for the Sudbury Wolves and Capital Sports Management, respectively.  How have those positions prepared you for the job of Director of Hockey Operations?

A:  Although they were great learning experiences, my positions with both the Sudbury Wolves and Capital Sports Management were not as intensive as the Director of Hockey Operations position here at Providence College.  I consider those former jobs my entry into the hockey industry, which is a major reason why I was offered the position at PC and why I have been so successful here.

Q:  What are your plans for when you’ve completed your internship at PC?  Do you plan on pursuing a career in hockey or perhaps veer off the path you’ve created and try a different field or sport?

A:  I plan on working in the hockey industry for the remainder of my career in a coaching or management capacity.  I like the business side of sport and hockey but I prefer to work as a coach, scout, general manager or any other position in hockey operations.  Ever since I realized playing hockey for a living was not a possibility, I have always wanted to work in hockey operations.


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