On September 4, the Niagara IceDogs announced a promotion within their front office. A 2018 Brock Sport Management graduate, Brandon Currie, was on the receiving end of this promotion and will now be working with the team under the title of Assistant General Manager.
At just 21 years of age, the Collingwood, Ontario native is now the youngest Assistant General Manager in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
It’s been a fast-track to this position for Currie, but that’s not to say the road has been an easy one.
Currie says he’s known he’s wanted to work in hockey since he was nine years old. He spent time in rinks volunteering with the local junior team in Collingwood and shuffling back and forth between Owen Sound Attack and Barrie Colts games. When Currie came to St. Catharines in 2015 to attend Brock University, getting involved with the nearby IceDogs just made sense.
The involvement with the IceDogs began right away for Currie as he started volunteering in minor roles with the team, which he described as “nothing glamorous”. Then the titles started to file in. Currie became an intern on the business side of the organization and he followed that up by getting involved in hockey operations, doing scouting and analytics work, which led to a dual designation of Director of Analytics and Midget Scout. These were the hats he wore prior to last Tuesday’s announcement, and in sum, it’s been about a three-year journey within the organization to get to this point. This position was always something Currie had in mind.
“I told our General Manager two years ago that this was my goal,” Currie said. “It’s something I was always vocal about, it’s something I wanted to work towards.”
Currie was gracious upon the mention of team General Manager Joey Burke, stating that his willingness to give Currie responsibility was invaluable.
“[He] was great, he was phenomenal. He really taught me a lot and continues to teach me a lot,” Currie said of Burke.
When asked what this promotion meant for his future career goals, Currie was humble and professional and instead opted to focus on the present.
“Our goal is to win the Memorial Cup in 2019. That’s what we’re working towards, anything beyond that I’ll deal with after that,” Currie said. “If you ask anyone else in the room we all have the same goal. Our team is built for this year. Our goal is to win the Memorial Cup in Halifax in 2019.”
It seems unbelievable that a 21 year-old could have such a goal and play a major part no less, but Currie believes his age isn’t a factor amongst elder colleagues.
“I think the way hockey is trending and the way pro sports is trending, age is kind of becoming more irrelevant. I wouldn’t say age is a hurdle.”
He referenced young executives in the current sports landscape that have diverged from the norm such as Chicago Cubs General Manager, Theo Epstein; Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager and Brock graduate, Kyle Dubas and Arizona Coyotes General Manager and Niagara native, John Chayka.
“Respect is earned. I think if you’re professional and you take the time to speak to people, you’re honest, you put the hard work in, people recognize that and people respect you for that,” Currie stated.
There hasn’t been a lack of hard work on this road. Currie articulated that these past few years haven’t been that of a typical university student.
“You don’t have that University life, per se, where you’re out with friends or you’re out at bars or parties. There’s a lot of sacrifice to be made. If I wasn’t in the classroom, I was in the rink. If I wasn’t in the rink, I was scouting and if I wasn’t scouting, I was in the classroom and that was just my cycle.”
Brandon Currie and the IceDogs open their season on Sept. 23 against the Mississauga Steelheads and play their home opener on Sept. 28 against the Kingston Frontenacs at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines.