Those of you that follow the Erie Otters and the Ontario Hockey League closely know who Dave Brown is. But you might not realize that Brown has a right-hand man working with him on a daily basis.
This Thanksgiving, Brown and the Otters have a lot to be thankful for especially given that this individual is on their team full-time now. He started as their video intern. He is now their assistant director of hockey operations among many other things.
Meet Scott Grieve, the jack-of-all-trades with the Otters. His story is the blueprint of how to rise up in the hockey world from a young age. He’s just 24 years old and a critical part of the success of the Erie Otters.
We now take you behind the curtain. From how Grieve found the Otters to what all he does on a daily basis for them, this is a story of how hard work and a tireless work ethic will pay off. For Grieve, his story started in prep school in Saskatchewan.
Grieve Knew Future Was in Hockey
Grieve attended prep school at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Some famous NHL players went to Athol Murray. The Fleury brothers Haydn and Cale each played there. In fact, Grieve and Cale Fleury were teammates for a small period of time in the 2012-13 season. As well, Jaden Schwartz and Morgan Rielly each played at Athol Murray. Grieve lived in the same dorm building as Rielly.
So Grieve has always been around hockey. He knew this was what he wanted to do. After his time at Athol Murray was up, he played for a season in British Columbia for the Osoyoos Coyotes. Although he posted a line of 1-9-10 in 31 games for the Coyotes, it was here that he realized he didn’t have much of a future as a player.
“I should go back to school,” Grieve said. “That’s when I applied to Brock University and got accepted. Then I reached out to the St. Catharine’s Falcons to continue playing while going to school. That’s where I met Wes.”
The Wes that Grieve is referencing is current Erie Otters’ assistant coach Wes Wolfe. Wolfe was the coach of the Falcons at the time. What a small world.
“In the fourth year of the program, we have the opportunity to do an internship program,” Grieve recalled. “I reached out to Wes and asked was there any opportunity. He put me in touch with Dave Brown and the rest is history. I live with Wes now, he’s my roommate so it’s crazy how that works out.”
Grieve’s Fast Rise
Grieve found his opportunity thanks to his coach in college. He landed an opportunity on the Erie Otters as a video intern. Let’s just say his one year as an intern was impressive. How impressive was it? The Otters offered Grieve a full-time position because of how valuable he became.
He wasn’t satisfied just being a video intern. He excelled at the video part, but it was his mindset that made him stand out. According to Grieve, no job was too small for him.
“Doing anything. No job is too small. I still think that today,” Grieve told us. “There’s a lot of times where it might seem small in the moment but it’s part of something bigger. I think as an intern if you show you’re willing to do that and are willing to work hard and respect everyone around you and be a sponge, you’ll find success. I still try to be a sponge in terms of the coaches and Dave (Brown) and Jim (Waters) and everyone on the business office. I try to learn something new everyday. I try to improve on everything. As an intern, if you come in with that mindset and show that you are willing to work hard you can have some success.”
So Grieve went from a video intern to being named the assistant director of hockey operations. He is considered Brown’s right-hand man. So what all does he do as part of his responsibilities? Plenty.
“I make sure everything runs smoothly on the hockey side. I’m in charge of the travel, the meals, the booking hotels, the itineraries, the bus. We ensure when we get to an arena at 2 A.M. to hang our gear that someone is there to open the door and we get to the right door. I handle the logistical things you don’t think of when you think of a hockey team.”
That’s just the very beginning for Grieve.
“I’m also pretty heavily involved in the analytics and Stathletes. I’m always tinkering with that stuff. I oversee Ken Beckett, our hockey ops intern, with video. When Dave has an idea, I try to bring it to life. I also try to do some scouting. It’s hard being in Erie to go up to Ontario all the time just from a time standpoint. I try to hit Pittsburgh and Buffalo and Rochester and those tournaments around there.”
So on top of all the logistical things Grieve does, he does some scouting. And we’re still not done yet.
“I also plan the team outings. They went to the Haunted House on 12th street. I also watch a lot of video from a scouting perspective. I’m also the director of partnerships on the business side of things. Aaron (Cooney) was the director. I offered to step in and help him out and take something off his plate.”
That last sentence is what makes Grieve an extremely valuable part of the Otters. He saw an opportunity to help out despite having a full workload himself and made himself available to take on the extra responsibility. That’s something not lost on Mr. 500 himself Cooney.
“I think with Griever, he is the definition of what you want to accomplish with your time as an intern for whatever organization or position or whatever you may be,” Cooney told the Hockey Writers. “He’s an example of taking an opportunity and running with it. Coming into the hockey operations side, from doing video to planning trips to helping with meals, anything that was needed on that side, (it got) to the point where he became so valuable to the hockey staff that they wanted to hire him. We taught him partnership sales. He put all of his effort into this, making phone calls, creating connections, grinding out a handful of new clients and picking up some existing clients and working those relationships. You’re looking at a guy that a year in, he is the director of partnership sales for the Erie Otters. We are all thankful for him here.”
So we have logistics, scouting, sales and director of partnerships mentioned. But it goes even further in an important aspect of the team. Grieve is actively involved with analytics and making it a more valuable tool for the Otters.
The team works with Stathletes when it comes to getting their reports. Grieve recalled when he and the team got their first Stathletes report and how overwhelming it felt.
“As a staff when we got our first report, we had to put it down and come back to it because it was so much and I think we’re learning as a group how to use it,” Grieve said. “We’re trying to use it in every aspect of what we do. It’s not the end all be all. Some think it’s like a computer game where you just plug in numbers. It’s definitely a piece of the puzzle. We use it in everything from scouting prospects to developing our own players. Our coaches do a great job where they make development profiles based on what numbers say. They also put video together and sit down with guys. I think that’s something that’s useful to them (the players).”
Now you can see why Grieve is so valuable to the Otters. He has his hand in so many things at once and makes everyone’s job working with him easier. Perhaps one of the people most thankful for Grieve is Brown himself. He gave Grieve one of the most ultimate compliments when describing his value to their team.
“He helped alleviate some of the needs we had,” Brown said of Grieve. “He’s been all over Canada and now into the U.S. when it comes to working within this industry. He does a little bit of everything. He’s eager to get in and work. He’s got a good work ethic and he’s driven to succeed. He’s been really good for me because I can lean on him and know I’m not adding extra weight to the coaching staff. Scott can pick up anything that’s needed while the team is on the road or I’m on the road. I can feel comfortable knowing that everything is being looked after back here (in Erie because of Grieve.”)
And through it all, Grieve himself is very thankful for the opportunity he has and doesn’t take a day for granted.
“I can’t say enough good things about Dave and what he’s done for this organization and what he’s done to help me along. I’m very appreciative of him.”
Being Thankful for Grieve
Grieve is the blueprint of how to rise up in the hockey world. He made connections. He earned an opportunity. He was excellent as an intern. He earned the respect of those he worked with so much so they wanted him full-time. Now he is one of the backbones in making sure the Otters run smoothly.
So on this Thanksgiving Day, Brown, Grieve and the Otters have a lot to be thankful for. It’s their tireless work and effort that make the team one of the most respected and well-run franchises in all of junior hockey.
It is all these things that truly make Grieve the jack-of-all-trades with the Erie Otters. Fans and the city of Erie are certainly thankful for his commitment and dedication to the team.