Ep.41 | OHL Central Scouting with Kevin Hess

In this episode, Coach Andy is joined by OHL Central Scouting’s, Kevin Hess. They discuss the inner workings of being a scout, how players are ranked, the key criteria scouts look for, and what players/parents/coaches can do to have the best chance at getting noticed.

Show Notes and Resources

Kevin Hess
OHL Central Scouting

Kevin Hess got an early start in the coaching/scouting scene at just 19 years old. While working at a hockey store in Michigan, Kevin was offered the opportunity to become an assistant coach for a local team in Michigan and has been coaching in the Michigan AAA loop ever since.

Early on, Kevin felt he had an eye for talent and began pursuing a job in scouting by contacting every junior team he could find across North America. His first opportunity came from Rob Kitimura who had just taken the job of Director of Scouting for the OHL. Kevin was assigned the title of U.S. Midwest Scout for the 2004-2005 season on a 1-year tryout, and it is his current position with OHL Central Scouting.

In this episode, Kevin illustrates what a player can do to become an OHL draft pick.

To open the dialogue, Kevin explains the role of OHL Central scouting in finding and rating upcoming minor hockey talent for future OHL priority selections. Each season, the staff will get together and integrate player data to form an overall ranking order, beginning with a consensus top 10, and building the ranks ten players at a time. He points out the continual re-evaluation of players at different points in the season (especially in playoffs) as a key aspect of the ranking process.

Moving on, Kevin indicates the necessity of high skill level and character as crucial aspects of any young player looking to move on to the next level. In detail, he describes his evaluation criteria as:

  • Hockey IQ
  • Skating
  • Overall Skillset & Relative Skill

Through this discussion, Kevin emphasized the importance of creating in-game opportunities saying, “players work so hard to get the puck – don’t just give it back, learn to make plays”. A main piece of advice he shares for young players is to keep working on your strengths, but also put in the necessary time to identify and address weak points – this includes the mental game.

Coach Andy and Kevin move on to an interesting conversation on what Kevin calls the ‘trophy hunting’ types – players who move from team to team, year after year, hoping to be on the best team possible. He points outs how this phenomenon is becoming more frequently discussed among scouts and team management as a possible reflection of character. Good players will ALWAYS be found, and trophy hunting may hurt a young player more than help him. Players like Alex DeBrincat and Anthony Cirelli are prime examples of staying the course and being discovered.

At each position on the ice, Kevin breaks down what qualities are crucial. He additionally describes different player types and what he looks for in the so called ‘role’ players – that hard working, non-offensive, grinder types. He then touches on a few tips for late draft picks and un-drafted players who attend training camps, emphasizing the importance of listening to exit interview information from the coaching staff, and using that to shape your focus moving forward. His recommendation on playing for a team WHERE YOU WILL IN FACT PLAY cannot be overstated. Playing at the highest-level is not necessarily the best idea if you sacrifice your development in the process.

In closing, Kevin briefly gives direction to anyone looking to become a scout.

Enjoy this episode with Kevin Hess!

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