- The Washington Times - Friday, July 1, 2005

The Ottawa Senators have extended general manager John Muckler’s contract, which is no big surprise. Same thing for coaches Pat Quinn in Toronto, Barry Trotz in Nashville and Dave Tippett in Dallas.

In other words, there is a viable job market in hockey, even if there isn’t any hockey in the NHL. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of jobs available in a market that is sure to need highly motivated individuals — possibly in the very near future.

There are even going to be openings for young men who can skate reasonably well but aren’t all that concerned about being paid quite as much as the young men who previously held similar jobs. The ability to shoot the puck or stop it in an above-average manner will boost one’s chances for employment.

NHL.com, Web site of the hockey league that has been locked down tight since mid-September, has a category on the left side of its home page simply titled “jobs.” There, category-by-category, teams list openings they have or believe they will have soon.

And the list is growing. On a recent day, 14 of the 30 NHL teams listed openings, and Pittsburgh and Florida posted long lists of them. There are many jobs to be filled after many became open through attrition when it appeared the lockout would last at least until Jaromir Jagr voluntarily took a pay cut.

The sudden signing of general managers and coaches and the posting of openings throughout the league probably means somebody way up in the NHL has signaled its 30 outposts that the lockout might actually end in the foreseeable future (the league itself has a few hundred slots to fill). It is a rumor that has circulated before.

The Washington Capitals, for instance, recently posted openings for a guest services coordinator “to work well with our fans” and a ticket sales account executive, a person who enjoys challenges. However, it is also known the club has openings for coaches, team support personnel, possibly a few spots in the front office and many, many players. North American hockey experience is a desirable quality for the latter positions, but talented young Russians are urged to apply.

The Penguins appear to be retooling from top to bottom. There are reports there will be new ownership but that some positions utilized under previous management may not be filled. However, any player who has worn a Pittsburgh uniform with the number “66” in the past is encouraged to return and even skip the physical.

Perhaps the most interesting posting comes from those fun-loving folks in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers are soliciting applications from people interested in being a member of “Beverly’s Diamond Girls Performance Team.” The women being sought are described in the ad as “spirited and outgoing” individuals who will “entertain the crowd” at Panthers games. They had better be talented, because the Panthers haven’t been doing much entertaining lately.

Interestingly, the job board does not contain a single help-wanted ad from the six Canadian teams or 10 of the 24 U.S.-based clubs. There was no immediate explanation.