By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. — Thunder coach Chris Cichocki often praises the scouting ability of Blair Nicholson, and the folks at the National Hockey League agree with him.
Nicholson, the Thunder’s director of scouting, has been hired as an area scout for the NHL Central Hockey department. He said his new duties will not interfere with his work for the Thunder, and he sees this as a great chance to showcase his scouting acumen.
“It’s another opportunity for me,” Nicholson said. “Everyone is looking for a chance to move up, just like the players.”
Nicholson, 49, will scout the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the NHL, a league he already oversees for the Thunder. NHL Central Hockey is in charge of scouting and grading amateur players for the annual draft.
“I think they picked a great guy,” Cichocki said. “Blair is an excellent scout, and he has really helped me.”
Nicholson lives in Rothesay, New Brunswick, and scouted two of the Thunder’s recent free-agent signees, forwards Jesse Bennefield and Todd Jackson. Last season, he helped sign forward Mathieu Melanson and defensemen Beau Geisler, Jason Beckett and Eric Main.
“We have a great relationship, and I really trust Blair’s opinion,” Cichocki said. “He knows what I’m looking for in a player.”