IN THE NEWS
BILL SCOTT BEGINS NEW ROLE IN OILERS ORGANIZATION
By Carter Baum,
As the NHL Draft begins on Friday night, fans of the Oklahoma City Barons will see a familiar face at the Edmonton Oilers table on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Bill Scott, who served as the Barons' General Manager in the first four seasons of the team's existence, is the newest face on the Oilers' management staff, promoted to the role of Assistant General Manager on April 21.
"We've really enjoyed our time here with the Barons and living in Oklahoma City the last four years," Scott said. "It was always a goal of mine to work in the National Hockey League, and when presented with the opportunity, [I] wasn't going to say no, that's for sure. I couldn't have gotten that opportunity without the experience I gained here in Oklahoma City … It's been a terrific experience and I'm really thankful for it."
Along with Scott, the coaching staff of Todd Nelson, Rocky Thompson and Gerry Fleming has been intact since the Barons' first season. Despite vastly different rosters and situations during the past four seasons, Oklahoma City's hockey brain trust led the team to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each - a feat only matched by two other teams in the league - as well as three 40-win seasons and two trips to the Western Conference Finals.
"Every year we say that we've seen it all, and every year we see something new," Scott said. "Our staff has done an unbelievable job. There's one thing that's consistent over our four years and that's our staff and our players' willingness to play for those guys night in and night out.
"Todd has a unique ability of appearing to be very much a players coach, yet at the same time he demands their respect and they give it to him unconditionally. You see that in the way our guys play, especially in the second half of the year. The last two years we've really come on in the second half of the season, and that doesn't happen unless the players want to play for their coach and the coaching staff as a whole."
Besides his duties with the on-ice product, Scott worked closely with Prodigal and the business side of the team during his time in Oklahoma City.
"It's been great," Scott said. "The group at Prodigal (has) been really easy to deal with. I mean, you look at a group that has put everything into this town and this team, and Bob (Funk Jr.) and his team have done that and have spared no expense to do so. You look at their commitment to hockey in Oklahoma City and there's no doubt they have an unbelievable commitment to it. That's been great from our standpoint from the hockey side, and the Oilers' standpoint. To have a committed affiliate and partner here in Oklahoma City has just been terrific for us to work with them on a daily basis and they've made it a terrific relationship."
Scott's dealings with the business side of the game are a part of his new role in the Oilers' organization. He also has a hand in the administrative responsibilities of an NHL organization like dealing with player contracts, the CBA and the NHL salary cap.
"It's a position where you can really grow at it," Scott said. "Being the first year up there, I think we've got a good plan for myself and where our organization is going."
And in Scott's eyes, the organization is going in a promising direction, with Oklahoma City playing a vital role in the future of the Oilers' development.
"We've obviously had a few lean years, leaner than we've wanted them to be, that's for sure. The players take that hard, the coaching staff, the managers, everyone takes that hard and it's unacceptable in our minds," Scott said. "You look at player like Oscar Klefbom that came in this year and spent probably two-thirds of his season in Oklahoma City and then took the ball and ran with it at the end of the year in Edmonton and looked very good. Martin Marincin (is) another guy. (He) spent half the year here in Oklahoma City and after his rookie year and really had a great finish to the season in Edmonton. We've got a lot of prospects coming."
As Scott begins the next chapter in his career, he only leaves Oklahoma City with one regret.
"We've had some good success here as well and that's something that we're certainly proud of," Scott said. "We wish we could've brought a Calder Cup over that time, but hopefully we can soon here to Oklahoma City and the great fans."
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