Jedd Jones doesn’t earn a six-figure salary, nor does he hold down regular hours. Most of his work happens on weekends, and his office is often usually resides on cold, hard benches of a hockey arena.
The 25-year-old works as a full-time amateur scout for Future Considerations, a website that advertises itself as the premier source on prospects around the world.
And despite the long hours involved, Jones is living his dream.
“I simply love hockey,” Jones told the Toronto Observer from Bellville, Ont., site of a just completed scouting trip. “I could never imagine myself doing anything else in any other context.”
From Day 1 Jones knew that he wanted a future working in hockey. But with an average height and a fairly lean frame, he didn’t boast a build that enabled him to seriously pursue the game as an athlete.
He saw scouting as his best route. However, getting there was not easy. As he put it, the hardest part of being a hockey scout is getting the job to begin with.
“You can’t simply apply to be a hockey scout,” said the Toronto native. “You have to meet the right people and be at the right place at the right time. It is essentially networking that will get you into the scouting world.”
He also warns that simply being a fan of hockey won’t necessarily make for an ideal professional talent evaluator.
“You have to have a good understanding of the game,” he added. “The more hockey you watch, the better you become.”
Since becoming a full-time scout three years ago, he’s been building his reputation in Ontario Hockey League and Ontario Junior-A Hockey League rinks across the Greater Toronto Area. Unlike some scouts, travel is fairly reasonable for him. With home rinks in Mississauga, Oshawa and Brampton, he attends at least three games a week in search of hockey’s “next big thing” with ages raging from 17 to 19.
It is the task of having to project the abilities of those teenagers two or three years down the road that often proves to be the most difficult task of his job.
“The player might be a stand out playing against players his own age,” said Jones pointedly, “but it’s the jump to the NHL playing against men that is so hard to predict.”
At this stage, Jones is more concerned with consistent and accurate evaluations than making a high salary.
“You won’t get ‘rich’ [working as a scout] until you make in to the NHL,” said Jones. “NHL scouts tend make between $50,000 and $100,000 US a year depending on the team and how long they have been scouting for.
“Right now, I have all my expenses paid for when I’m on the road, and I get a weekly salary, which I make work.”
So he pays his dues in the hopes for an opportunity that will one day allow him to reap the benefits of his work in the NHL.
For now he finds happiness in being able to work in a sport that he loves along with the possible gratification of seeing a player he once scouted make an impact in the NHL.
“It lets me know I am doing my job right,” said Jones.