Every professional sports franchise relies on a supporting cast of employees who do the bulk of their work behind the scenes but whose skills are absolutely crucial to the success of their squad.
That includes the NHL teams who’d have a hard time hanging with the rest of the league without the video coaches tasked with breaking down game film and relaying replays to the bench, the stat nerds in the front office crunching numbers for signings and trades, and the trainers, nutritionists, and therapists tasked with ensuring the boys stay at the top of their game.
There are also the largely unheralded equipment managers who have the unenviable task of washing jerseys, sharpening skates, hauling bags full of pads from city to city, and the many, many other thankless duties that come with the job.
Being an equipment manager is sort of similar to being a referee in the sense that you usually only attract attention to yourself if you screw something up. However, there are exceptions to that rule—including a viral video that thrust one man who works for the Maple Leafs into the spotlight for all of the right reasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs equipment manager Bobby Hastings blew plenty of minds with his insane attention to detail during games
Making sure a player doesn’t have to go more than a few seconds without a stick is one of the most visible roles (and arguably the most important one) an equipment manager plays during a typical hockey game, and they usually have the ability to deploy a backup at the speed of light if a twig breaks during play.
You don’t get the kind of job Toronto’s Bobby Hasting has without knowing what you’re doing behind the bench, and the Maples Leafs head equipment manager attracted plenty of attention thanks to a video that showed him painstakingly keeping track of which player has the puck and moving his hand to the corresponding backup stick so he can grab one and offer it over the boards if the situation calls for it.
Watching the "Stick Man" at hockey games is so insane. He touches the stick of whoever has the puck. pic.twitter.com/x1y6GpHUg2
— Remko Rinkema (@RemkoRinkema) October 25, 2022
That, my friends, is the mark of a true professional.