The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced they plan to crowd-source their 2015/2016 roster.
“We believe the Leafs brand and the NHL entertainment experience means that we are now able to leave in the past old-school methods of drafting and developing real hockey talent,” said Leafs GM Brendan Shanahan.
Shanahan observed that most kids grow up in Canada playing hockey, and that hockey knowledge is so widely disseminated among Canadians, that just about anybody could play the game.
“Even if their only experience is a bit of road hockey, we think these players have what it takes to wear a Leafs uniform,” Shanahan said.
Crowd-sourcing workers is a growing trend in a range of fields, and has become especially popular in creative work such as web design, graphics, and writing. The practice has become widespread because it allows business owners to minimize employee compensation and virtually eliminates the need to pay for facilities and benefits for workers.
The Leafs have also announced plans to reserve a number of roster spots for unpaid interns.
“We see the internship as an opportunity for young players to learn the game, and gain the experience they will need to join the pool of paid crowd-sourced hockey labor later on,” says Shanahan.
When asked whether he thinks that fans will continue to pay sky-high ticket prices to watch crowd-sourced players and unpaid interns, Shanahan said, “It’s not really about the quality of hockey as much as it is about the entertainment experience. Crowd sourcing and unpaid internships will dramatically improve our bottom line performance, and that’s the most important thing in the hockey business.
“Beside that, you can see from the Leafs’ past performance and perennially long wait for season’s tickets that winning games does not matter much to Leafs fans. As long as we’re putting bums in seats, we’re all good,” Shanahan said.
Players interested in a Leafs roster spot can check out the club’s ads on Craigslist.
Blake Desaulniers is the British Columbia Regional Director for the Professional Writers Association of Canada and a member of the Editors Association of Canada