Saturday, 9 February 2008

Franchise 101 - Part 04 - Corporate

Part 4 of a series of posts regarding NHL (sports really) teams. The series will serve as a template by which a casual fan can better determine the present and future state of the team they love.

The basic setup of a team is pretty simple, outside of the odd Wang experiment the business model of a NHL team has been established for quite some time now. Outside of Model there are three key characteristics that come into play in regards to Corporate issues: Competence, Power and Resources.

Model / Framework / Org. Chart, etc.

Feel free to choose your own label for what is basically an organization chart. Special note: Minor League teams often have their own owners YET, regardless of interface, it is the General Manager who will be responsible for direction and/or interaction.

Without getting too crazy the basics start with an Owner, a Board, a President (CEO) and a General Manager. Corporate functions (Finance, Marketing) will be the responsibility of the President while the Team functions (Pro-team, Scouts and Minor League affiliates) will be the responsibility of the General Manager.

Budgeting and contracts are generally the domain of the GM and said budget must be approved by any of the three bodies higher up the ladder.


Competence is like money, the more competence an organization has the better. The problem is that competence is variable by individual, Ex: an organization that has great scouts is crippled if the GM trades those picked for the NHL equivalent of magic beans.


Position does not mean power. A powerful coach can emasculate a weak GM and sometimes the same guy wears all three 'operational' hats (CEO, GM and Coach) so, maybe, who cares about the Board? The variations are endless.

Finding the power figure can be a little like playing 'Where's Waldo' but the first step is to, always, consider the Owner. The power starts there so find out who they give it to (if they do actually give it away).


Resources is not a personal or personnel thing. It is about the organization itself and whether or not it is spending the dollars it needs to in the various divisions. A team lacking adequate resource coverage competes at a disadvantage to those who do.

Does it have a Minor league team or affiliate that focuses its time and effort on the prospects the team drafted? Does it have adequate scouting coverage of the different leagues (i.e. do they have a Euro scout)? etc.


It is important to remember that responsibility, power and accountability are three different things. An organization chart will tell you who is responsible for what but it won't tell you who in the chart actually wields the power and the number of coaches who have been held accountable for the faults of a horribly put together teams run into the triple digits.

So again. Think about your team. Does the way it is organized actually correspond to the way it is run, does it spend in all the ways it probably should and are the different persons involved actually competent at what they do?

Franchise 101 - Introduction and Chapter Listing


Have a great evening everyone.

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