Sports Management grad played on two All-Ontario teams in St. Marys minor system
By Pat Payton
When St. Marys Lincolns went looking for a new video coach, they approached a young man who had already helped them win a playoff series.
Back in January of 2020, Hunter Bodenham helped former team video coach Jordan Paolo break down game tapes of the Strathroy Rockets, Lincs’ quarter-final playoff opponent. Lincolns won the GOJHL series in five games.
Lincolns’ Director of Hockey Operations/GM Greg Smale remembers Bodenham’s contributions well.
“Two years ago before playoffs, Hunter said that he’d like to get involved with the team,” Smale recalled. “He joined up with Jordan, and they started working video together. Hunter then had a meeting with myself and the coaching staff, and we broke down all of his video and came up with a good strategy before that series.”
When Paolo stepped down following the season, Bodenham couldn’t commit to the job because he wasn’t sure where he was going to be employed, the GM said. Lincs hired Klayton Hoelscher to be their video coach this past season, but he has enrolled in police college and the position became available again.
“When the opening came up this time around, I reached out to Hunter again and he was more than happy to join us,” Smale said. “He’s a hard-working young guy who had an internship with MLSE. He’s going to be huge for us moving forward with the video.”
Sports Management graduate
Bodenham’s internship with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment occurred during the final year of a three-year Sports Management program he was enrolled in at Durham College in Oshawa (2014-17).
“It was a lot like a general business course, just sports orientated,” he explained. “I had sports marketing classes, sports organization, sports management, and some accounting courses. “With that program, there were a lot of volunteer opportunities with sports teams and other organizations. For example, I volunteered with the Hockey Hall of Fame a couple of years with their induction night.”
Near the end of the Sports Management program, students are required to do a three-month internship. Bodenham interviewed with the Ontario Hockey Federation and MLSE, and opted to go with MLSE for his work placement.
“I felt it was a good opportunity to work with the largest sports and entertainment company in Canada (and one of the largest in North America),” Bodenham said.
MLSE’s primary holdings are its major sports franchises, the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. It also owns the following minor league farm teams, Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, Raptors 905 of the NBA G League, and Toronto FC II of the USL League One.
Spent six months with MLSE
“I did a three-month internship with MSLE, and then an additional three months on contract (in 2017), so I could work the Leafs and Raptors’ playoffs, and Toronto FC was also just starting up,” he said.
“The most work I did was with the Leafs and Raptors. The department I was in is called VIP Experience, and I worked on the sales and service floor. My department worked with basically the highest-calibre customers. We would plan and host events, like watch parties. For example, we had a gala at the Royal Ontario Museum. That project involved just the Raptors.
“We also had a ‘Day in the Life’ event for the Leafs, and I worked with (former Leafs) Wendell Clark, Mike Johnson, Al Iafrate and Shayne Corson. We had a pick-up game, mid-day, with some of the season-ticket holders. We would organize things like that.”
On Leafs’ game nights, Bodenham would host guests at executive suites. One night, he hosted a couple of former Blue Jays’ players, pitcher Marcus Stroman and outfielder Devon White.
“It was a pretty new department, and they really wanted to focus on executive VIP stuff,” he said. “It’s pretty hard for big names to sit court side. I would take them around and look after them for the night.”
Excited about new position
Bodenham, 25, is looking forward to his new position as video coach with the Lincolns.
“What I did before with the team and what I want to continue to do is take clips of good plays and bad plays,” he explained. “Also, I will keep a log of the other teams’ systems . . . their powerplay, penalty-killing, breakouts, goalie strengths and weaknesses.
“I will take that information to the coaching staff during and after the games, point out things that maybe they don’t see at ice level when the game is going on at full speed.”
After graduating from college, Bodenham travelled for a year. He hopes that video coach on his work resume will possibly help him obtain a full-time job in Sports Management someday.
“I really want to get back into things, and have passion for something,” he added. “I’m just so happy to be involved, and very happy that Greg sees value in me.”
–Hunter Bodenham’s father Mark played for the Lincs (in the early 1980s) as well as his uncles Scott and Pete.
–Hunter served as goalie coach with the 2019-20 ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams in the St. Marys minor system. Mark was also on the Bantams’ coaching staff that season.
–Hunter played all his minor hockey in St. Marys, and was a member of All-Ontario championship teams in both Peewee and Midget. Some of his teammates on the Firefighter Peewees were Michael Siddall, Tyson Baker and Braydon Blight. That team was coached by Jamie Baker.
–Klayton Hoelscher, meanwhile, wants to remain with the Lincolns and scout and help out at practices when time allows. The Elora native played five years of Junior hockey.