Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whalers hire Harkins to head scouting

The Plymouth Whalers announced today the hiring of Don Harkins as the Whalers’ new Scouting Director. Harkins replaces Jim Debenham, who resigned on Monday.

“We are fortunate to find someone of Don’s caliber,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “He has proven to have a great eye for talent and we have worked well together in the past.”

“Hockey’s been my life,” Harkins said. “The Ontario Hockey League is a great developmental league. I’m very happy to be part of a proven team like Plymouth.”

Harkins worked for Whalers last season as their USA scout and is the Director of Elite Prospects, LLC, a placement service for many top American hockey prospects. Harkins was also the general manger of the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets which entered the United States Hockey League as an expansion franchise in 2006. In two seasons with the Blue Jackets, Harkins built a competitive team that featured 34 NCAA Division I scholarship players and nine NHL draft picks.

Harkins also worked as head coach and general manager of the Cleveland Barons of the North American Hockey League. Before that, Harkins served as the head coach for the Detroit Honeybaked AAA program of the Midwest Elite Hockey League from 2000-04 and then in 2006. During his tenure with the club, Harkins coached a team that featured three first-round National Hockey League draft choices - Peter Mueller (Phoenix Coyotes 2006), 2008 NHL Rookie of the Year Patrick Kane (No. 1 overall pick 2007/Chicago Blackhawks) and Chris Summers (University of Michigan/Phoenix 2006).

The rest of Plymouth’s scouting staff remains for 2009-10, including Rick Boyle, Dave McParlan, Mike Oliverio, Pat Peake Sr. and Tom Watson. Vellucci, associate coach Joe Stefan, assistant coach Brian Sommariva and Harkins also contribute to the Whalers’ scouting efforts.

“I am happy to say all of our area-scouts are staying intact for next year,” Vellucci said. “As a group, they have done a tremendous job for this organization.”

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