By Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com
As the inevitable changes on the ice begin as they do each off-season, there are changes being made in the front office as well.
Jed Ortmeyer was named Director of Player Development while Steve Eminger was named as a professional scout.
Ben Prentiss, the founder of Prentiss Hockey Performance, was named a strength and conditioning consultant.
For Ortmeyer, who spent three seasons with the Rangers from 2003 to 2007, the opportunity to return to hockey and doing it with the Rangers is one he’s excited to undertake.
“This was a dream job for me,” Ortmeyer told NYRangers.com. “The opportunity to get back with the Rangers – who I’ve always considered like family from the way they treated me when I came into the League … I’m super excited and honored to have them think of me for this role and I’m excited to get started.”
In his role with the organization, Ortmeyer will work with the Rangers’ young prospects and young pros in Hartford to “do whatever they need me to do and help these kids develop” as they work towards the NHL, both on and off the ice.
Ortmeyer said that while this role was not around in an official capacity after he signed with the Rangers as a free agent in May 2003, he had plenty of veterans around him to soak up information from that he can now pass along to the current batch of young Blueshirts.
“This role wasn’t around but we had guys like [Adam] Graves and other retired players that were always around for help and comments and advice,” Ortmeyer stated. “Playing with Mark [Messier] and [Brian Leetch] and those types of players for me was my development role. I kind of had the development guys built into my team. I can lean on that.”
Ortmeyer twice won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award given to the player who goes “above and beyond the call of duty.” Chris Drury, the Rangers’ Assistant General Manager and GM of the Hartford Wolf Pack, said that is evidence of how much respect he had among the fans for how he played the game, and that will benefit the players he’ll work with in this role.
“I didn’t know Jed personally when I was a player but I heard from so many different people of what a great person he was and the character he brought to every team he was on,” Drury said. “I think Jed is going to be a great example for our kids.”
Eminger spent his first year after his career as a part-time scout with the Rangers, with the hope that it would lead to a position like this.
“The Rangers gave me an opportunity [this past season] to kind of get a feel for things,” Eminger said. “It was a great opportunity for me and my goal was to eventually at the end of it become a scout and it happened. I was real grateful they gave me the chance.”
Eminger, who played three of his 14 seasons in professional hockey with the Rangers, said he’d often watch games with a scout’s mindset. Whether out of the lineup because of injury or as a healthy scratch, the 33-year-old said he’d never focus on systems, but rather on individual players.
“That always intrigued me. I think that’s why I really wanted to be a scout,” he said. “As a player I’d watch players and now as a scout, I’m doing the same thing.”
Eminger is just one full season removed from playing professional hockey, and he said that familiarity with both the NHL and American Hockey League, could help him in his new role, but he also said there is still a lot to learn.
He also said it’s always a difficult decision to hang up the skates, but that staying in the game makes the move a bit easier.
“Turning the page was tough and you always feel you have more years in you,” he said, “but with different factors playing into the decision I’m really excited to move on and I’m real excited to do it with the Rangers.”
Like Ortmeyer, Eminger said the chance to begin this new endeavor with the Rangers played a major role in his decision.
“I really enjoyed my time in New York and with the organization,” Eminger stated. “It’s a first class organization and they treat everyone … with a lot of respect and with a professional attitude. That was something I wanted to be a part of again. It meant a lot to be back with them.”
(Reprinted with permission of NHL.com)