Chris Moulton and hockey go hand in hand. Heading to a Ghostrider game in High School, you knew you would see Chris at some point. Whether he was at the door, selling 50/50 tickets or helping out the team, there he was and with his loud and witty personality he was hard to miss. At the time Chris was working for the Ministry of Children and Family as a childcare worker, but as a director on the Ghostrider board and a huge hockey fan he did “every odd job imaginable” for the local hockey team.
Not surprisingly it was through this volunteer position that Chris’s next career opportunity arose. “I always met guys coming through the door and eventually a guy starting a franchise in Calgary came through. He needed a scout in the Kootenays and after asking questions about the Ghostriders and the league, he asked if I wouldn’t mid scouting. That’s how I started scouting.”
He continued working as a childcare worker Monday through Thursday, and scouted Friday to Sunday. This continued for seven years when he was approached by the Calgary Hitman to come on as a full time scout. “I quit social services and took this position, and was number two in command for the next three years.” Chris covered Winnipeg to Victoria, traveling with guys he considers his friends.
From there his career only continued to grow. The Spokane Chiefs of the WHL approached the Flames organization to request talking with Chris regarding their recruiting/scouting. While this was a huge step it came at a very challenging time in Chris’s life. His wife Shelly had just been diagnosed with cancer and his priorities were at home. “I was looking forward to getting out of hockey and staying home with Shelly and my daughter Taylor. Spokane pursed me harder, and once I went down and saw what they were all about I took the position right away. They were a very family oriented organization and understood my priorities to be home with Shelly.”
Just three years with the Spokane Chiefs Chris experienced every hockey fan’s dream – winning the Memorial Cup. “It’s basically the Stanley Cup of Junior Hockey,” he says upon noticing my blank expression while handling the huge Memorial Cup ring in my han. With 12 years of scouting behind him, Chris finally felt like it was all worth it.
“I flew to Kitchener, Ontario and was there for the whole thing. Team building, practice games. We were a big time underdog – out of four teams we were ranked fourth, the two Ontario teams being favoured. We beat the four teams, meeting the home team in the finals. It was insane. Televised and sold out, when they scored the first goal we thought, ‘Uh oh, here we go.’ But we scored the rest. Other than my wedding and Taylor’s birth date it was the most exciting day of my life.”
Now Chris has been with the organization for five years and just signed a three year contract as head scout. “Eight guys are going to NHL camps this year, my first draft as a head scout in the Western Hockey League.” As head scout, he covers the entire western half of North America.
So what is it about scouting? While it’s taken him around the world, from Prague to New York to San Diego, he admits the best part is watching young players grow. “I saw Sidney Crosby, Dion Phaneuf and Jonathan Toews as Bantams. Now they’re gods. I remember asking Jonathon Toews, ‘What do you want to do? What are your long term goals?’ and here is the same kid raising the Stanley Cup. To me that’s unbelievable. I mean, I’m from Fernie. You just don’t think you get the opportunities to do these things”
Chris is still firmly rooted in Fernie. It’s his home, where he was raised and where his family and friends reside. He also still involves himself with the Ghostriders when he can, admitting that he has a lot of respect for the team and its organization. What does the future hold for Chris? For now it’s three years in Spokane and while he has had conversations with NHL organizations he’s happy where he’s at.
“I’m in such a good place right now,” he says. “Although being head scout in the NHL would be the ultimate goal I guess,” he adds.
1. When did you first arrive in Fernie and what brought you here? Born and raised. Born at the old Fernie Hospital, my entire family is from here.
2.Where did you first live in town? Oh my goodness… the annex is the first place I remember, and we lived there until kindergarten.
3. What was your first impression? I never had an impression of Fernie until I became a parent. Once I started raising a child here I started really appreciating what Fernie had to offer. As a kid I just wanted to get out of here.
4. What is your favourite business or hang out zone? Fernie Memorial Arena, god that sounds terrible.
5. What keeps you here? Friends and family.
6. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory? The birth of my daughter.
7. What is your favourite time of the year in Fernie and why? Summer just because I get to spend more time with my family and more time at the lake.
8. Where do you see Fernie in 5 to 10 years? I still see it growing. I see it becoming more attractive for all four seasons. It’s getting better every year.
9. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? My favourite ritual is getting up and having a moment of peace with Shelly before Taylor wakes up. And checking emails, I can’t forget that.
10. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. Even though I travel a lot, in a lot of great places, I am a huge home-body. There is no place I would rather be than at home, curled up watching some classic movies.
Quote to live by: Live for today and appreciate every day.