Life as a Scout... with Neil Little

Neil Little keeps an exclusive blog on PhiladelphiaFlyers.com about his travels all over the world to find prospects and the next great Flyer

Sunday, 04.14.2013 / 10:00 AM
Neil Little I Philadelphia Flyers Scout

Welcome, Flyers Fans!

In my younger years, I wanted to be one of two things: an NHL goalie, or an Air Force fighter pilot (not so much for the 'fighter' aspect of fighter pilot, but rather more along the lines of an exhibition pilot in the Canadian AF aerobatic team, The Snowbirds - USA's equivalent of the Blue Angles). Less fighting, and more high speed formation fly-bys! In contrast, this is the opposite way I like to see hockey played!

I grew up in a small town called Medicine Hat, which is located in southern Alberta, Canada. My days were filled with the usual activities of youth, but more so revolved around hockey games at various rinks (outdoor and covered), and heading to work at my Dad's aviation business where I would mop floors and wash airplanes.

Every so often I would climb in the cockpit and take on the task of co-pilot/wide-eyed scenic observer as we headed out on a charter, or simply to family holiday get-togethers.

Nothing beats the feeling of flight, except perhaps my first NHL game, or the wondrous sights and sounds of playing in the Outdoor Classic last winter with some of the greatest players to ever lace up their skates - Thank You, Paul Holmgren!

At the age of 18, and with my pilot training underway, I set out to navigate the road to fulfilling my NHL dreams. I found myself in another small town, namely Estevan, Saskatchewan, trying desperately to make their local junior team, the Estevan Bruins.

The week prior to my arrival, I had been released from a try-out in Vernon, BC. That team was to be the host of the Canadian championships, so an automatic berth in the year end tournament was assured. Tryouts brought prospects from all over the world (European imports were just beginning to gain visa grants at this time so the competition was extreme).

I got the axe and headed back home, slightly defeated. But, I found my way to Estevan, and to make a long story short, I made the team and actually returned to Vernon for the Championship… Redemption!!

I had a good year playing in Estevan, and accepted a scholarship to Rensselaer (RPI), which is located in Upstate New York and part of the ECAC (many thanks to Buddy Powers and the staff at RPI).

I was drafted by the Flyers after my Freshman year in 1991, and 21 years later I am as proud as ever to still be a part of the greatest franchise in the NHL.

My role has changed over the course of my time here, playing 12 years of pro hockey for the Flyers and Phantoms, a brief two year stint as an assistant coach with the Phantoms (God Bless The Spectrum), and now entering my fourth year as a pro and amateur scout.

So, would anyone like to globe trot with me to try to find the next great Flyer?!

Hop on board the scouting train as I write about my trips from Seattle to Moscow, and all points in between.

During my travels I hope to give you some insight on my life and adventures as a Philadelphia Flyer Scout. From booming metropolitan cities like Prague and Stockholm, to rural Canadian towns in the middle of snowy-nowhere. I hope you all enjoy the ride as much as I will enjoy sharing it with you.

With warmest wishes, and Flyer pride,

Neil Little

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