Former Saskatoon hockey player nabs hockey operations job with Los Angeles Kings
A former Saskatoon hockey player has achieved the dream of scoring a spot with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Last week the Kings announced Vukie Mpofu would be the organization’s new manager of hockey operations and legal affairs.
“It was something that I've been thinking about for a long time, ever since I stopped playing - trying to get into the business side of the sport,” said Mpofu.
His role will see him work on several different areas of the organization.
“Probably be doing quite a bit of work with the salary cap, with contract negotiations, trying to project where guys are going to be down the line, and make sure that we have our structure the way we want it as a group,” he said.
It’s not a surprise to those who’ve seen him rise through the ranks of the game.
“He's very goal oriented and I believe he knew what he wanted to do,” said his former midget AAA hockey coach Marc Chartier.
Mpofu played for Chartier and the Saskatoon Contacts for two seasons, winning two league championships and playing in two national championships, while leading the team in scoring in 2012/2013.
“Just great on and off the ice,” said Chartier. “Just a great team guy, he’d get along with everybody.”
Mpofu was a fourth round pick of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels in 2011, but made the decision to pursue school after playing one season with head coach and general manager Brent Sutter in Red Deer.
“One of the things I actually learned from Brent Sutter probably was how to do a really good job of self evaluation, and that was one of the things he really stressed in particular is just sort of figuring out where you're at,” explained Mpofu.
“I think at the end of the year I had a chance to sort of evaluate my abilities as a player and in other areas, and I just felt like I knew where I wanted to go with my career.”
Mpofu obtained a political science degree from the University of Saskatchewan and was accepted into UCLA School of Law, where he specialized in sports and entertainment law.
Mpofu interned with the Vegas Golden Knights between his second and third years of law school and joined the Kings shortly after graduating last month.
So far, he hasn’t had people back home asking him for Kings tickets.
“I'm sure it's gonna come as as the season approaches, but thus far, not so much.”