For those in New England looking for Neutral Zone Head Scout Ian Moran this winter, he will not be around. This past week Ian jumped back into pro hockey by accepting the Head Coach position with the Evansville Thunderbolts (SPHL). “Ian has always had a lot of opportunities in the game at various levels but the chance to be a head coach and wear a lot of hats in their organization was something he couldn’t turn down,” said NZ President Steve Wilk.
Ian is the second Neutral Zone scout this season who has moved on to other roles in the game; longtime Ontario scout Todd Reid accepted the General Manager position for the Wellington Dukes in the OJHL. “While we hate to lose our guys, we are happy for them and it’s nice to see NZ scouts getting the respect they deserve across North America,” said NZ Director of Scouting Brendan Collins. “We put a lot of time and effort into hiring quality scouts and the hockey community has acknowledged that. My phone has been ringing constantly in the past year from NHL to NCAA to CHL to junior hockey programs inquiring about our scouts.”
In his time with NZ, the former NHLer has covered every level of hockey in the New England region. He was responsible for rankings, player evaluations and tournament reports. While he will stay on with Neutral Zone in the off-season, he reports to Indiana soon for his first season as a Head Coach. In his press release Ian reflected on his time as Head Scout for Neutral Zone.
I want to thank everyone at NZ for giving me the opportunity to get back into hockey. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about evaluating talent and player development. What you see on the website is just the tip of the iceberg as to what these scouts know about the amateur player pool and it was exciting to be on the inside and do things the right way. However, I knew I wanted to get back into coaching at some point and this was a great opportunity for me. I will still be working with NZ in the off-season, I’ll be in the rinks, making calls to our scouts and watching film.
Director of US Scouting Brian Murphy, a former teammate of Ian’s at Belmont Hill added, “Ian sees the game in a unique way. He has an extremely high hockey IQ and understands the details of the game like very few in the industry. He will see a player’s stride or visible skills but he’s very keen on their decision making and ability to see and process the game with pace. As a veteran NHLer he knows the skills that translate at the highest levels and he brought that knowledge and experience to NZ which made the whole team better.”
“All I can say is Evansville is really lucky to get a guy of Ian Moran’s quality both in character and ability,” remarked NZ President Steve Wilk. “This is a guy free-agents will want to play for and will make them better as they start their professional careers.”
Evansville’s kicks off their season in October; the announcement on their website can be seen here.