Student follows sports management dream with Otters co-op

Original Article: Student follows sports management dream with Otters co-op

Connor Small has a game plan.

The Grade 11 Huntsville High School student said he plans to pursue a post-secondary education in sports management and decided one of the best ways to enhance his application was to gain some experience in the field.

So he has become the first Huntsville junior C Otters co-op student.

“It’s more directed toward general management, but if you were looking to do any co-op in hockey, I think this would be a good place to start because it is a pretty cool team to be behind,” said Small.

He took the initiative to meet with school faculty and contact the team to arrange the co-operative education placement. The position has him at the Canada Summit Centre every day in the fall semester to accumulate 220 hours of experience.

Small said he started the position tracking player and in-game statistics using a new program called Stats Track on a tablet. The fast-paced role had him at the rink recording faceoffs, hits, goals and more with a swipe of the hand.

But he said he also plays for the Huntsville Midget AE Otters, which left him little time to attend the junior C games once his season started, so he has now trained another student on the program.

Small also completes write-ups for the team’s website about games and player acquisitions, charts to monitor power play and penalty comparisons, team advertisements for the recreation centre and more.

He said he was also able to travel with the team for its pre-season tournament in Alliston and observe the processes of appealing to Hockey Canada for a player as well as signing new players.

“I’ve followed the Otters since I was in Grade 4,” he said. “It’s interesting seeing it from this point of view. And it’s a good season to be a part of.”

He said the experience with the team has provided him with a lot of sports management information, which he plans to put in his resume when applying to schools.

Brian Crozier, vice-president and director of hockey operations for the Otters, said Small would receive glowing letters of recommendation from the team, too.

He said analytics and statistics tracking are a huge part of sports now and it is one of the main tasks given to Small. And he is excelling at it, said Crozier.

“We want to put as many tools out there as we can, but I’m a little long in the tooth,” he smiled.

He noted the younger generation seems to adapt to new technology quickly, which makes students like Small an important part of the club.

Crozier also said the volunteer-based team benefits from having a regular presence in Small.

“Someone who is day-in-day-out at the office keeping things glued together for us,” he said. “Lots of programs are going to look for employees that are coming out of programs that have cut their teeth on something like this with us.”

Businesses interested in exploring co-op opportunities can contact Clare McLean-Wilson, co-operative education teacher with Huntsville High School, at 705-789-5594 ext. 438 or clare.mclean-wilson @tldsb.on.ca for more information.