SUDBURY, Ont. – For Dillon Anderson, earning the opportunity to scout for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Powassan Voodoos has been a moment the North Bay, Ont., product has taken full advantage of.
Anderson, who has cerebral palsy, and depends on a wheelchair for mobility, is as committed to his craft as any other would be in the game.
The West Ferris Secondary School student in North Bay first joined the Voodoos as part of a co-op program a couple of seasons back, only to see his worth ethic and efforts with the club result in him being promoted to his current role, a northern Ontario scouting post with the club.
“My duties with the Voodoos include scouting players from the Great North Midget Hockey League and scouting players in the North Bay area, such as high school level players,’ offered Anderson in describing his position within the team.
“I also helped the coaching staff and players clip videos on HockeyTV for upcoming games as part of my co-op placement with them. I also attend training camps and help evaluate players that take part.”
Anderson’s workload with the squad has grown exponentially since his first joined the Voodoos.
“Dillon has gone from doing simple scouting reports at training camp, to now having the ability, and know-how, to break down video online through HockeyTV,” stated Powassan general manager and director of hockey operations Chris Dawson.
“He has broken down scouting video of future Voodoos prospects as well,” added Dawson. “He has been an asset to our hockey operations.”
Like any scout, Anderson takes pride in his work and relishes seeing prospects he has taken an interest in, flourish on the ice.
“The most enjoyable part is watching players you have scouted succeed with the team,” beamed the young man.
“I really enjoyed this past season, especially when the team went on a 21-game winning streak. This was an exciting time for the franchise and I was excited to be a part of it.”
As a bird dog eyeing potential prospects, Anderson has a purpose and knows what he is looking for in working for Voodoos.
“When scouting, it is important to focus on specific players and not watching the game as a whole,” he stated confidently.
“When looking at the players’ skills and evaluating, I try to look at such things as skating anticipation vision; puck handling skills; faceoff skills; effort on the ice and work ethic.”
His contributions do not go unnoticed as plenty of eyes in the organization are privy to his detailed submissions.
“When I do a scouting report, I submit them GM Chris Dawson, associate general manager Brent Tomlinson and head coach Max Gavin. If I’m evaluating a goalie, I send also send it to goaltender coach Patrick Rochefort.”
The advancement of technology allows Anderson to promptly submit his notes following contests.
“I email in a report every time right after I attend a Great North Midget League game or a high school level game,” he surmised, providing samples of his diligence in his scouting work in North Bay and surrounding area.
“I also do southern Ontario scouting through HockeyTV, if asked to scout a specific player.”
Anderson’s presence with the Voodoos has also provided a tremendous boost to the team itself, who boasted a NOJHL-best record of 45-9-1-1 to finish atop the overall league standings and claim their third regular season title in the past four seasons.
“Dillon is loved by all the Voodoos’ players,” provided Dawson. “They respect him and his knowledge of the game. The players all know how much Dillon does.”
“The highlight of the season was back in mid-February when he gave an inspiring motivational speech to the players prior to the game against the French River Rapids.”
Learning firsthand of Anderson’s accomplishments over the past two seasons provides continued evidence that hockey is for everyone.
“Dillon’s achievements is a tremendous compliment to this fine young man,” stated NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“His steadfast efforts is continued proof that our game is for each and everyone,” added Mazzuca.
Like most involved in Jr. A hockey, Dawson admires Anderson’s aspirations as someone who strives to advance to the next level in the game.
“We hope Dillon continues to learn about junior hockey operations and perhaps one day, just like our players and coaches, he gets a chance to move up and do scouting in major junior, college or professional hockey one day,” offered the Powassan GM.
As for this up and coming hockey person, his spirit and promise has him aiming high as he looks to ultimately see his efforts take him to the next level.
“Yes of course,” Anderson said confidently. “I would like to scout at higher levels in hockey, although my dream job would be being a general manager, starting at the junior A level, like the NOJHL, and moving up to the NHL.”
With his continued dedication and commitment, there’s no doubting Dillon Anderson will do just that.
With files and photo courtesy Chris Dawson, baytoday.ca