There’s another Sutter on the Red Deer Rebels block.
Shaun Sutter, the son of former NHL head coach and current Bentley Generals bench boss Brian and the nephew of Rebels owner and Calgary Flames coach Brent, is the Rebels’ new senior scout following the resignation of Dale McMullin, who on Friday was named director of scouting for the Regina Pats.
Sutter served as an assistant coach with the Pats the last two seasons. His contract was not renewed this year.
Jesse Wallin, the Rebels vice-president of hockey operations/head coach, likes what the 31-year-old Sutter brings to the organization.
“I think Shaun will be really good in the role,” Wallin said Friday. “He had a couple of other opportunities that way so he was kind of in that mindset. He’s coming out of coaching, but looking at the opportunities he had over the summer I think he kind of felt that the scouting side of things would give his family a little more stability.
“Shaun has a sharp hockey mind. His personality might even be better suited to scouting. He’s been around the game for a long time and we really wanted someone with Dale moving on.”
Sutter may also be in line for a promotion down the road, perhaps as the Rebels director of scouting/player development when Randy Peterson leaves the post.
“Randy has expressed that in a few years . . . not immediately, but four, five, six years down the road, he may want to step back and take on a bit less and not travel as much,” said Wallin. “So we wanted to find someone who would want to dive in with both feet, a younger guy who would be able to be groomed to take over that position. I think Shaun will be a real good fit for our team and we’re excited to have him.”
Wallin isn’t concerned with Sutter’s lack of experience in the scouting profession. After all, the Red Deer native will work closely with Peterson.
“He’s experienced in the league,” Wallin said of Sutter. “Obviously scouting is a little different than coaching, but he’s been around the league for a long time and he’ll be working under Randy. It’s not like he’s jumping into a head-scouting role. He’s going to have the opportunity to learn and grow into the position. And yet, he’s real keen. I think the biggest thing in any position is being keen and wanting to put the time in and learn . . . having that attitude.”
The Rebels have been involved in somewhat of a youth movement in recent years with the hiring of assistant coaches Bryce Thoma, Chris Neiszner and Brent Belecki, and the appointment of Merrick Sutter as senior vice-president/alternate governor. Shaun Sutter is now part of that new-look movement.
“He’s going to be a quick study and he’s going to do real well,” said Wallin. “The big thing is he knows the league, he understands about working with kids and how the league works. That’s a huge plus that a lot of scouts out there don’t have. Shaun brings some attributes to the table that maybe some other guys do not.”
Meanwhile, McMullin moves to Regina as a replacement for the recently-dismissed Todd Ripplinger.
“Dale had another opportunity with a team last summer, where he was in discussions with them for their head-scouting position,” said Wallin. “We knew he was kind of on the radar of other teams, that his name had come up along the way with other teams and that he would be pursued.
“I think Dale just felt that with Randy not going anywhere soon, that it he was going to take that next step it would have to be somewhere else. And good for Dale. He’s running his own gig now.”
Sutter, who was unavailable for comment, played in the Western Hockey League from 1997 to 2001 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Calgary Hitmen. A fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 1998 NHL entry draft, he played professionally for eight year in the AHL, ECHL and in Europe.
“Shaun is an intelligent, hard working young man with a very good hockey background as a player and coach in the WHL I look forward to working closely with Shaun and I’m excited for what he will bring to our scouting staff,” Peterson said in a press release.