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Charlie Mendola: New Director of Hockey Strategy


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Mendola, a 46-year-old East Amherst native, has been a coach with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and also served as assistant director at the Academy of Hockey, where, according to the LECOM Harborcenter website, he was tasked with “leading and managing the creation, implementation, marketing and servicing of all LECOM Harborcenter Hockey and Academy programming.”

Mendola has also been executive director of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres’ Under-20 team in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and at times, worked as an on-ice coach for the Academy of Hockey.

Mendola played college hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology from 1992-95. Prior to joining the LECOM Harborcenter staff, Mendola spent 15 years in the retail banking industry, including multiple positions with HSBC Bank USA and First Niagara Bank.

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I wish him well.

It's an underwhelming hire, though, given his background and pedigree.

Edited by That Aud Smell
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17 minutes ago, Weave said:

What does a Director of Hockey Strategy even do?

I'm completely speculating here, but my first thought would be be high level organizational vision and such.  Keeping up on trends around the league in style of play, schemes, drafting and developing, etc.  A research-based deeper dive into what makes up the org's hockey philosophy now and moving forward.  I could see that being a valuable full-time position.

But that's just my take on it.  I have no idea what the Sabres have in mind for Mendola.

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So who is left to run the Academy of Hockey?  Is there anyone left to promote? 🤔

 

 

On a related note...you gut your hockey side of the business staff a few months back, but then create this useless position?

Edited by LabattBlue
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It’s an interesting dynamic going forward on here. Nothing they do will make some people happy. Some want them to be progressive, think outside the box. Some want some Brian Burke type.

You can continue to look at it as total old pal network, meaningless hire all designed to cut costs. You can look at it as then thinking outside the box. It might be both, it’s definitely a by product of them wanting a leaner organization.

Funny thing is, history is of no real help. The Patriots were a laughingstock till they hired a coach with a losing record. Mike Ditka was a “God” in Chicago, neatly destroyed the franchise in New Orleans. “Money ball” was a joke till it wasn’t. Joe Salic was the guy you wanted to trade with till he wasn’t. Peter Chiarelli was “the guy” till he wasn’t. “Grit” was what was needed in the playoffs, till it wasn’t till it was again.

Who knows. Twenty years from now Mendola may be the guy who saved the Sabre’s or he might be the guy you have to google to remember what he did.

Edited by tom webster
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The Director of Hockey Strategy is "tasked with monitoring and interacting with various social media forums in order to assist consumers of the product into understanding just how lucky they are to have the Buffalo Sabres and the Pegula family, and to demonstrate to these consumers how opening up their wallets is the best way to show their appreciation."

Apparently, Mendola got the job after convincing Kim he could do better than the intern who launched the position as a pilot project on Sabrespace earlier this year.

Edited by dudacek
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Never underestimate an RIT man.  Sharp guy. Smart. 
 

Adams is young and smart enough to know he can’t cover all bases.  He wants to focus on talent acquisition and salaries.  Mendola will be looking forward and informing Adams on it.  

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12 minutes ago, LabattBlue said:

Looking forward for what exactly? 

Strategy in hockey sounds like using data and trends on teams/players, monitor and set direction for improvements in talent evaluation and development, follow changes and influence league polices and direction, and develop future financial projections.   Hell, he will probably attend meetings that Adams can’t be at.  
 

There are things that Adam can’t work on, and still focus on the talent acquisition and salary cap management.  Adams is working with a smaller staff that JBots.  

Edited by Pimlach
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Charlie?  Haha, no way... first Kevin, now Charlie....  I went to school with Charlie (he was a smart kid) and played a bit with him back in the late 80's.     Haven't talked to him in years, maybe I'll reach out and try to find out what he's up to.    

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19 hours ago, tom webster said:

It’s an interesting dynamic going forward on here. Nothing they do will make some people happy. Some want them to be progressive, think outside the box. Some want some Brian Burke type.

You can continue to look at it as total old pal network, meaningless hire all designed to cut costs. You can look at it as then thinking outside the box. It might be both, it’s definitely a by product of them wanting a leaner organization.

Funny thing is, history is of no real help. The Patriots were a laughingstock till they hired a coach with a losing record. Mike Ditka was a “God” in Chicago, neatly destroyed the franchise in New Orleans. “Money ball” was a joke till it wasn’t. Joe Salic was the guy you wanted to trade with till he wasn’t. Peter Chiarelli was “the guy” till he wasn’t. “Grit” was what was needed in the playoffs, till it wasn’t till it was again.

Who knows. Twenty years from now Mendola may be the guy who saved the Sabre’s or he might be the guy you have to google to remember what he did.

I would hardly call creating a new position(after the gutting of the off-ice hockey staff in early summer), and then hiring another person from the Academy of Hockey staff  to fill said position, "thinking outside the box".  That being said, there will never be any metrics made public that would indicate if this position if helpful to the organization, so I will let it go.

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2 hours ago, LabattBlue said:

I would hardly call creating a new position(after the gutting of the off-ice hockey staff in early summer), and then hiring another person from the Academy of Hockey staff  to fill said position, "thinking outside the box".  That being said, there will never be any metrics made public that would indicate if this position if helpful to the organization, so I will let it go.

But there must be metrics that answer the age old question, is there a discernible difference in success rate between hiring someone you have a previous relationship with versus someone you do not? It’s one of sports in particular and business in general last bastion of anecdotal statements made with unchecked research. Does history show that hiring someone you know is worse then hiring someone you never met till interview day?

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6 hours ago, tom webster said:

But there must be metrics that answer the age old question, is there a discernible difference in success rate between hiring someone you have a previous relationship with versus someone you do not? It’s one of sports in particular and business in general last bastion of anecdotal statements made with unchecked research. Does history show that hiring someone you know is worse then hiring someone you never met till interview day?

You sure aren’t getting any new ideas or culture change by continuously hiring from within.

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2 minutes ago, Weave said:

You sure aren’t getting any new ideas or culture change by continuously hiring from within.

Is it continuous though?  JB wasn't part of the organization, and I think he brought in most of his own peeps, right? 

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Just now, nfreeman said:

Is it continuous though?  JB wasn't part of the organization, and I think he brought in most of his own peeps, right? 

Call it a trend then.  Point still stands.

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