Join the club, Cloutier
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
“Great save, Cloutier!” He’s back! The goaltender that so many of us have fond memories of—or rather, none of us have.
Dan Cloutier has been hired by the Canucks as a goaltending consultant to take on the role as a mentor for the goaltenders in the Canucks development system. Even though the Canucks already have a goalie coach, Rollie Melanson, they feel they need the grade-A calibre advice that Cloutier brings to the game as well. The same goalie who was infamously scored on from centre ice by Nick Lidstrom in a playoff game. Yes, he will be a “goaltender consultant,” but what does that actually mean?
It seems to be the easiest thing to do for retired professional athletes, specifically ex-NHL players, to fall back into the game and bathe in the benefits, with Cloutier being the latest to do this. His job will be giving advice to up-and-coming goaltenders entering their careers, because apparently Cloutier has “been through it all.” He was a starting goalie, a back-up goalie, a pulled goalie, a fighter, and a goalie that “couldn’t stop a beach volleyball.” Mr. Cloutier has seen it all—except glory. But apparently if you were an athlete at some point in your life, jobs are just easier to come by.
The Sportsnet and TSN networks hire retired players all the time who wouldn’t necessarily qualify for the job. However, they bring the ex-NHL player factor to their resume and suddenly they’re in front of a camera. That’s all it takes for ex-athletes. Otherwise, it would require a degree and years of schooling. Just look at Nick Kypreos, who was a fourth-line player for his entire career. His reputation as a hockey analyst on Sportsnet is tarnished. I often wonder how a guy like this could even possibly be allowed to talk in front of a camera. Former Canucks coach Marc Crawford is another example who worked on TSN as a commentator and a hockey analyst while in-between jobs. Watching Crawford and his high-pitched voice making remarks on how well the Canucks were doing—years after he got canned by the organization—was quite the sight.
The appeal of a former professional athlete is far greater than someone who went to school for sports science or journalism. The general public is more interested in watching someone that they’re already familiar with, even if it was cheering for them on a sports team, rather than a fresh face.
Mr. Cloutier, I hope you enjoy your new career at 35, after having retired four years ago. It will be a strenuous task to give advice to goaltenders coming into the eternal world of leisure and money. Congratulations and good luck.