April 13, 2011
Erstwhile agent Kyle Dubas is about to become major junior hockey's answer to baseball's Theo Epstein.
According to sources, the 25-year-old Dubas, who was an agent for Uptown Sports Management and the youngest person ever certified by the NHLPA as an agent, will be introduced as the new general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Greyhounds, who dismissed Dave Torrie on the final day of the regular season, have scheduled a press conference for 12 noon ET on Friday to introduce their new GM.
There is probably no need to check whether Dubas, who who worked for the Hounds before becoming an agent, would be the youngest GM in relevant Ontario Hockey League history. He edges out Carolina Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice, who was 26 when he had the dual coach-GM role with the Detroit Jr. Red Wings in the 1990s. Saying he is young enough to be the grandson of three of his soon-to-be counterparts, the Ottawa 67's Brian Kilrea, who is 76, Erie Otters' Sherry Bassin, 71, and Kingston Frontenacs' Larry Mavety, 68, probably suffices. It was probably just a matter of when we would see the boy GM phenomenon, so-called, make it to major junior hockey.
That said, Bill Montague, the Sault Star scribe and Shaw TV colour commentator who had advocated long and loud for the Hounds to work on getting former NHL coach of the year Ted Nolan to return, tweeted that he was surprised by the decision:
Kyle Dubas new GM of the Hounds. Shock is an understatement. Good kid but what kind of message are the owners sending to fans. Good luck.
No doubt some cynics will wonder if the Greyhounds went with a younger hire — youngest hire — since someone more established might have demanded a higher salary. Montague might be scripting that commentary as we speak and it will be damn entertaining. That should be separate, though, from questioning whether Dubas can do this solely based on age.
Within minutes of news getting out, Jeff Hicks of the Waterloo Record ("Breath of fresh air in stodgy old OHL ... Don't underestimate the kid") and HockeyProspect.com ("Hard worker, I see him in the rinks A LOT") each had Twitter testimonials to Dubas. The age thing should not be a big deal. If 34-year-old Alex Anthopoulos can run baseball's Toronto Blue Jays and Epstein could take over the Boston Red Sox at age 28, a mid-20-something who has the drive and the smarts and started scouting at age 17 should be able to take on an OHL organization.
Dubas, an alum of Brock University (whose well-regarded sport management program includes one of Anthopoulos' inner circle, Jays head scout Andrew Tinnish), presumably has built ties in talent-rich Southern Ontario. That is an area where Sault Ste. Marie eeds someone on the ground, hitting the hustings to sell players, parents and advisers on coming north. Credit the Hounds for veering away from the tried-and-true.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.