Bestwick to scout for NHL’s Blues

Former Nanaimo Clippers coach Bill Bestwick joined the St. Louis Blues this month as a scout for the NHL club.

For a long time, he liked to say that he bled orange. Now he’ll bleed blue.

Former Nanaimo Clippers coach Bill Bestwick joined the St. Louis Blues this month as a scout for the NHL club.

“Like many opportunities in life, right place at the right time,” he said.

The Blues shuffled their amateur scouting staff this off-season and reached out to Bestwick.

He said there will be a learning curve, though he’s accustomed to assessing junior-aged players.

My recruiting [in the past] was almost based in the moment, finding a player that can play at the junior A level,” he said. “Now it’s identifying players that you think will grow into a professional player. I think that’s where the majority of the difference will be, and the science of how they recruit, what they look for, what their mantra is in St. Louis and all that.”

The Nanaimo city councillor expects to have to travel less frequently as a scout than he did as a hockey coach. He’ll get to pick and choose his schedule for the most part, scouting primarily on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and can arrive at games right at puck drop.

Bestwick said it will be strange not having an emotional stake in the outcomes of the games, but job satisfaction will come in other forms.

“You sure hope that you’ll be able to contribute to somebody’s future through advocating for them or promoting them as a potential draft pick,” he said.

His new job starts immediately as junior hockey season is underway.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Bestwick said. “It’s certainly been a part of my blood for as long as I can remember, so to be able to continue doing this in a field that I love, it’s a terrific opportunity and I hope I can make a valid contribution.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com