The contract got pulled out after the chicken parmesan.
Spokane Chiefs owner Bobby Brett traveled Wednesday to Penticton, B.C., to get to know one of two finalists for the job of general manager. Brett didn’t name the other finalist but said said he was intrigued by Scott Carter’s business and hockey background.
“He had been down here and we talked about the parameters of the job and the financial parameters,” Brett said. “But I made a decision. This guy is very interesting. I needed to spend some time in his back yard.”
So Brett traveled north and got a tour of the hockey arena in Penticton that Carter helped build and the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame that Carter co-founded in 1991. Brett also got a tour of a warehouse full of collector cars owned by Carter’s brother.
“I went up there with a contract in hand,” Brett said. “I just wanted to be sure. I’m comfortable and confident that we made the right choice.”
The Chiefs introduced Carter Thursday as the team’s next general manager. He succeeds Tim Speltz, 57, who served as the general manager for the last 26 years. Speltz recently was named the director of western-area scouting for the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
The announcement also fell on Carter’s 55th birthday. Carter’s first interview was interrupted as all of the current Spokane Chiefs sang Happy Birthday while Carter grumbled under his breath.
“You guys will pay for that,” he said to no one in particular. “Wind sprints.”
Carter is no stranger to the hockey side. From 1987 to last year, Carter worked as a scout for the NHL teams in Vancouver, Anaheim and Toronto. He’s been to Spokane multiple times to scout the Chiefs and called Speltz “a legend.”
“I knew it was a premier franchise in the league,” Carter said. “I was extremely interested. I don’t think there will be a ton of surprises. I just have to catch up to the train and jump on as its moving.”
Since 1996, Carter has been part owner and president of Vaughn Custom Sports – a worldwide provider of goaltending equipment. He takes over in his new role as the team prepares to trim its roster down in time for the first regular-season game on Sept. 24 in Tri-City.
“We’ll rely a lot on (Director of Player Personnel) Chris (Moulton) and (Coach) Don (Nachbaur),” he said. Speltz “built a great staff. I’ll just follow the blue print he had … with maybe a tweak here and there.”
Carter said he knew the job was a real possibility when Brett said he wanted to come visit Penticton. The job offer didn’t come until after all the tours. “Bobby pulled the contract out at dinner,” Carter said.
A celebratory drink sealed the deal, followed by a five-and-a-half hour drive Thursday with Brett to Spokane.
“It was very very important to me that I find the right person to fit into our culture,” Brett said, “but also a guy who could bring in new ideas.”
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