As an NHL scout for nearly 20 years, Pierre Dorion has been away from home so much, it’s a wonder he remembers where he lives.
Now that he’s the Senators’ new assistant general manager, a role and title he is sharing with Randy Lee, Dorion might get to attend a few more family functions. That includes the special days of his daughter, Vanessa.
“I think I missed nine of her first 11 birthdays,” Dorion said on Monday, as the team’s director of player personnel moved up to AGM. “And I saw five of my son’s hockey games last season.”
That would be Antoine, who is eight years old. Vanessa is 11. Dorion can’t say enough about his wife, Tanya (“super!”) who has endured all these years of Dorion’s bird-dogging in Quebec, Ontario and overseas, as required.
With former AGM Tim Murray off to Buffalo to be the Sabres’ new GM, Dorion and Lee, who has been director of hockey operations and player development, will take up the slack. Both will be involved, along with GM Bryan Murray and hockey administration manager Allison Vaughan, with player contracts and salary arbitration cases.
Lee, 52, has spent his entire NHL career with the Senators, 19 years and counting, working his way up from strength and conditioning coach. His personal strength lies in developing young players, teaching drafted prospects and college free agents what it takes to become a professional. Lee and his wife, Julie, have three children, two boys and a girl. As part of his new title, Lee will be GM of the AHL Binghamton Senators.
Already, Lee communicates on a regular basis with B-Sens coaches Luke Richardson and Steve Stirling, but now the communication will be more “intensive.”
“Tim gave us a lot of autonomy, he supported us, so it’s now it’s just a matter of taking on some of his duties,” Lee said.
“It’s really exciting for me,” Lee said of his promotion. “Bryan and I go back a long way. I was part of his coaching staff that was three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup (in 2007). So, we both have the same passion. We know how hard it is to win. Being local guys, that’s important to us. We want to win in this city.”
Also a “local guy,” Dorion, 41, has been with the Senators since 2007. Before that, he scouted for the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. Bird dogging is in his blood. Dorion’s father, Pierre Sr., was one of the game’s most distinguished scouts, working for the NHL central scouting bureau as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs, before he died of a heart attack at age 49.
As an AGM, Dorion won’t be on the road quite as much, but will still scout and manage all of Ottawa’s pro and amateur scouts.
“Before, of our list of 120 (player prospects), I probably knew 110,” Dorion said. “Now, I’ll probably know the top 50.”
With Dorion at fewer games, Bryan Murray told the Citizen Monday he plans on hiring another amateur scout by the end of the season, to work extensively in Quebec and beyond.
Automatically, Lee and Dorion will be in the running a couple of years down the road when Bryan Murray moves on from his GM position, although, as Dorion noted, they both have enough on their plate at the moment.
Of course, with the promotion comes a salary increase — and perhaps new Dorion digs in Orléans?
“No,” Dorion said, “although my wife did mention something about that.”
- With files from Ken Warren