The Moncton Wildcats loss is the Florida Panthers gain.
Wildcats Assistant to Hockey Operations Brett Turner will start his dream job as NHL Amateur Scout with the Panthers effective immediately.
The hockey lifer and proud Islander can’t wait to get things started.
“It really is a dream come true,” Turner said.
“Hockey is something I dedicated my life to. I didn’t have a chance to make it as a player, so I dedicated myself to the work side of the things. For me it’s a real passion. Scouting is such a fun job it doesn’t feel like work,” admitted Turner.
At only 29 years of age, Turner has close to a decade of experience in the hockey industry.
The endless hours of work and dedication behind the scenes and in cold rinks across the Maritimes and Québec has certainly paid off.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and obviously I have a lot of people to thank for all the help along the way.”
“It means a lot to me,” Turner said when asked about getting the opportunity at this stage of his career.
“It just shows that hard work can take you somewhere.”
“I got my start early at the Québec league level, but hard work does pay off.”
“If you love something, keep working hard and keep grinding, it doesn’t always come early,” explained Turner.
Before joining the Cats, Turner was part of the scouting staff for the Victoriaville Tigres, joining that organization in 2012.
Turner also served as a part-time regional scout for NHL Central Scouting for the last two seasons.
Prior to scouting the Charlottetown native was involved in recruiting for the UPEI Men’s Hockey Program, as well as working with Andrew’s Hockey as a research assistant.
“Brett is a real professional, he has a professional attitude in everything he does,” said Wildcats Director of Hockey Operations Ritchie Thibeau.
“I trust his evaluation on players and his day to day work in the hockey operations department. Brett always provided honest feedback and I thought we worked well together,” Thibeau added.
“Brett’s work ethic is second to none. His work during the entire pandemic has been extraordinary,” explained Thibeau.
“In the Wildcats organization we want to develop players and staff to be able to achieve their maximum.”
“In some cases, it means pro hockey or for others professional careers.”
“We are very happy to see Brett take the next step in his hockey career,” Thibeau said proudly.
“I’ll be forever grateful to the Wildcats organization,” said Turner.
“I know I’m still pretty young and may have had some good scouting experience under my belt, but when it came to the Assistant GM role, I’m sure there were more experienced people for the role perhaps, but the Cats took a chance on me.”
“I learned a ton working with many people within the Wildcats organization and especially working closely with Ritchie.”
“He’s a guy with NHL experience and a ton of experience at the Québec league level and just getting an opportunity to work closely with him and Alex Gauthier our Head Scout has been huge for me,” said Turner.
“I think the world of Alex.”
“I’ve learned a lot from him over my time with the Wildcats.”
“Working with the Cats has been the best and most enjoyable part of my life so far,” said a reflective Turner.
“In a role like that I saw every side of Major Junior hockey.”
“A role like this one was so valuable, I went from strictly scouting to getting to see things on the full spectrum.”
“Working with so many quality people within the organization and having a chance to learn from them has shaped and improved me as a person over the last couple of years.”
Scouting and the hockey business is deeply entrenched in the Turner family’s DNA.
Brett’s father Shane also scouts at the National Hockey League level with the Dallas Stars.
What does it mean to see his son reach the NHL?
“It doesn’t have to be the NHL, what makes me proud is that Brett had a plan to achieve his goal. The plan was detailed and he worked really hard to make it happen,” said Turner.
“To say father and son made it to the NHL is very special only because we both have a real passion for the game.”
“My oldest son Dustin could have achieved the goal as well, but he has two young children and he wants to be an integral part of their lives and believe me being an NHL scout is not conducive to be around your kids a lot,” admitted Turner who scouted for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL before moving to the NHL.
What’s it going to be like scouting games together?
“We have done that a lot already,” the long-time Stars scout said.
“We’ve shared ideas, things to look for, integral tells that the ordinary fan wouldn’t know to look for. Key elements that players require to be NHL players.”
“It will be fun for sure, but we have done it before. Now we won’t be able to share ideas anymore as our knowledge for each team will be proprietary.”
Passion, work ethic and business savvy minds definitely run in the Turner family.
“Brett had his own business since he was eleven, so business acumen and knowledge was groomed young.”
“Brett is focused, he is a hard worker, he is smart and he has a passion for the sport. He has put the work in and will continue to grow his knowledge,” said Turner when asked about his son’s dedication and work ethic.
The bond between father and son lasts a lifetime. Turner is thrilled to be able to share this stage of his career with his dad.
“It’s really special.”
“My dad keeps saying that this might be the last one, that this might be the last one, but he keeps going.”
“There’s no real end in sight for him, he keeps on trucking. Eventually it’s going to wind down for him, so for me to get this opportunity to get in before he calls it a career is pretty special.”
“He’s obviously had a huge impact on my career, he’s been my hero since I was a little kid, I’ve learned so much from him and he really helped blaze the trail for me. I wouldn’t be here without him.”
“It will be fun to continue to see him at the rink.”
“Hopefully this season we can have a draft live and in person so we can get to share the NHL draft experience at separate tables.”
Driven to reach his goal would be an understatement considering Brett Turner’s inspirational path in the game.
Hockey dreams do come true especially when you put in the work.