Tony Scott taps into rabid Minnesota hockey fanbase with popular Youth Hockey Hub
Even before the World Wide Web as we know it was born, Tony Scott was roaming cyberspace, sharing his opinions with anyone who would read them.
Email was his main source of communication. This was back when “reply all” functionality was considered cutting edge. Then came the ability to build your own website or blog. Scott, thrilled by the new technology, hopped on board from the start.
“One of my most famous blog posts was, ‘Joe Paterno is a Fraud,’ in 1999, which is about 10 years prior to Joe Paterno going down,” Scott said. “That was the only one that ever went viral, and by viral I mean five hundred reads, a thousand reads.”
Scott continued to write about whatever interested him, and with three young children involved in sports, his attention turned to youth hockey. In the spring of 2010 he wrote about Minnesota’s state Pee Wee tournament. He was stunned by the response.
“I wrote those stories on my blog and proceeded to get 5,000 reads per story,” said Scott, 46, who grew up in Minneapolis playing alongside the likes of future NHLer Tom Chorske. “I was blown away. I noticed there was no one doing what I wanted to do or what I wanted as a youth hockey parent.”
I noticed there was no one doing what I wanted to do or what I wanted as a youth hockey parent."
Within a year, the Youth Hockey Hub was born. Launched in October of 2011, YouthHockeyHub.com had 12,000 visitors in its first month. Traffic has grown steadily ever since, and last year the site had about 3 million page views.
Scott, who owns a Minneapolis-based advertising agency, believed rankings would be the site’s main traffic driver. Scores were required to update the rankings, and he built a system that allows coaches and parents to submit that information. His NOW Rankings were created using a formula that weighs winning percentage, opponent’s winning percentage, opponent’s opponent’s winning percentage, head-to-head competition, average goal differential and recency of games played.
Name: Tony Scott
Resides in: Bloomington, Minn.
Family: Wife, Debi; Son, Jake, 14, and daughters Olivia, 12, and Hadley, 10.
Jobs: Owner of Multiply Communications, a small, full-service advertising agency in Minneapolis. Editor/Publisher of the Youth Hockey Hub.
Interests: University of Minnesota sports, coaching, golf.
Scott grew up in Minneapolis where he played youth and high school (Minneapolis Southwest) hockey with future NHLer Tom Chorske, the inaugural winner of Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award. Scott graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Mass Communications in 1990 and worked for a large advertising agency before starting his own firm, Multiply Communications, in 2001. An avid writer and sports fan, he started the Youth Hockey Hub just less than four years ago.
Scott's formula for success
“I went out and did research on the KRACH, Pairwise and all of those (hockey rankings systems) and studied literally their formula and their methods,” Scott said. “Every one of them didn’t have what I wanted in it.
“What I wanted most was recency. Because if you beat somebody, I want the rankings, the formula, to reflect it. So we built that in. There are 131 days of youth hockey. We put a value on each one of those days.”
Rankings and scores provide the foundation of the Youth Hockey Hub, but the content doesn’t stop there. Scott and his staff regularly cover games, produce player rankings that are available only to subscribers and webcast select games on the site. They also organize and manage tournaments, many of them in cooperation with youth hockey associations.
"Some people think it is crazy to talk about Squirts and Pee Wees like Tony does, but I think a lot of those people are envious of what he has built," said Minnetonka Bantam AA coach Brian Murphy. "Tony is a good guy, and he means well. He's not a crazy hockey parent."
I really want to become a good play-by-play guy. l'm not (NHL announcer) Doc Emrick, but I love it. I really love it."
Murphy, who coached a Bantam Elite League team for Scott last summer, said his players are regulars on the site.
"The kids actually love the site," Murphy said. "They love looking at the scores from the previous night."
Scott, who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1990 with a degree in mass communications, still enjoys getting his opinion out there. His recent “So Your Kid Got Cut” article is a compilation of much of what he has seen and experienced as a hockey player and parent. But he says his biggest passion is in broadcasting.
“I really want to become a good play-by-play guy,” Scott said. “I’m not (NHL announcer) Doc Emrick, but I love it. I really love it.”
The high-energy Scott is constantly expanding the Youth Hockey Hub’s portfolio. He spends the winter months criss-crossing the state running tournaments, broadcasting games, shooting photos and writing stories – among other duties. He doesn’t have an offseason. Scott organized a six-team Minnesota Bantam Elite League last summer and is planning a 16-team tournament featuring the best 11-year-olds from across North America, including a Minnesota team, for next summer.