Edmonton Oilers assistant GM Bill Scott fondly recalls time as Argos’ water boy

Screengrab courtesy: Edmonton Oilers

One of the NHL’s top decision-makers got his start in sports on a CFL sideline.

Edmonton Oilers assistant general manager Bill Scott recently sat down for an extensive interview with colour commentator Bob Stauffer, in which he detailed what it was like growing up as the son of legendary CFL agent Gil Scott.

“It’s the only childhood I knew so it was really a great experience for me, my dad being an agent in CFL and NFL. Later on in his career, he took on some NHL coaches and general managers and things like that. Growing up in a sports household was a lot of fun,” the younger Scott recalled.

“Sunday afternoon would hit and there were games on throughout the entire day, football games on all the time. We’d go to CFL games, we’d get to go to some NFL games, got to do some pretty cool experiences with him. Growing up, he’d take me on trips with him sometimes to see some of his clients. I got to do lots of really cool stuff as a kid that I was fortunate enough to be able to do that most certainly aren’t able to.”

Active in the business since 1979, Gil Scott has repped a laundry list of marquee CFL clients, including quarterbacks like Dieter Brock and coaches like Wally Buono and Don Matthews. He was also the first Canadian agent to ever be certified by the NFLPA, representing players like Jon Ryan, Mike Vanderjagt, Steve Christie, and Mike Schad. His NHL clients have included the likes of Randy Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.

His son was the beneficiary of some of those connections, travelling to games and meeting elite athletes from a young age. It even earned him an introduction NHL legends, as Scott vividly recalls getting to meet Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille on one trip to watch the San Diego Chargers.

Rubbing shoulders with CFL players was often just as impactful and, unsurprisingly, there was one that stood apart from the rest.

“Obviously, CFL fans would know Mike ‘Pinball’ Clemons,” Scott said, referencing the legendary running back, returner, head coach and now general manager of the Toronto Argonauts.

“He was a client of my father’s and one of the best people you’ll ever meet in the world. I obviously got to experience some time with him, go to a lot of Argo games.”

Eventually, Scott’s role expanded past just watching games and he got his first job in sports on the sideline in Toronto.

“When I was 15 or 16 and I could finally drive, I was a waterboy for the Argos for a couple of years,” Scott recalled. “I got to be out on the field with Doug Flutie, who was there at the time, and Andre Ware and they won a Grey Cup. Got some great experiences there as well and was able to meet a lot of different cool people along the way.”

Flutie is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback in CFL history and Toronto won back-to-back Grey Cups with him at the helm in 1996 and 1997. Ware served as a backup on that second championship team, marking a rare instance in which a CFL franchise could boast two Heisman trophy winners on the same roster. Flutie took home the NCAA’s top honour in 1984 with Boston College, whole Ware won it with Houston in 1989.

Despite his fond memories around the CFL, Scott soon realized that his destiny lay elsewhere.

“I was a football fan but football wasn’t my passion. Hockey was my passion,” Scott explained. “I certainly wasn’t a pro prospect or anything like that but I love the game and played as high as I could for as long as I could. Then I had a moment of self-reflection in high school and said, ‘I’m not getting to the NHL by playing so I gotta find a different way to do this.'”

After serving as a team manager at Michigan State, the native of Unionville, Ont. interned with the Nashville Predators before working his way up through personnel departments in the ECHL and AHL. He was named the Oilers’ assistant GM in April of 2014 when he was just 33 years old.