By Chris Mantel
For 30 years Jeff Twohey has been a part of the OHL, holding several key positions before becoming Oshawa’s General Manager this past summer. When asked about what has led to his longevity in the league, Jeff’s response was, “Passion.”
“My whole life I’ve been a passionate hockey guy,” comments Twohey. “I was fortunate to grow up around Dave and Don Maloney, who had long NHL careers. They were older than me, but they were family friends. I enjoyed watching them play as well as playing myself.”
During Jeff’s draft year, he suffered an injury that forced him to stop playing. Still wanting to be involved in hockey, he sent letters to every Tier 2 and Jr. B team in Ontario asking if he could scout for their team. He was contacted by the Aurora Tigers, and scouted for them while he was still in high school. After graduating, Jeff went north to attend Laurentian University. He contacted the Peterborough Petes after learning that they didn’t have a scout in the area, and was hired. “I didn’t have a car so I would take the bus or hitchhike to get to games, but I stuck with it because I had a passion for the game.”
When a position as the Petes trainer opened up, Jeff contacted the Petes GM/Head Coach Dick Todd about the position and was hired, though he had no prior experience as a trainer. He taught himself the ins and outs of the job while continuing to scout for the Petes.
After spending some time around Roger Nielson (head coach of the Petes from 1966-76), Jeff became part of the Petes coaching staff and continued to move up the ranks. When Dick Todd moved on to an NHL position in 1993, Jeff was promoted to General Manager of the Petes, holding the position for 17 years. He was a part of four OHL Championship teams in Peterborough, two as General Manager. 18 banners hang in the Memorial Centre and Jeff was a part of 11 of them. After moving on from Peterborough in 2010, Jeff spent two seasons with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes as a scout.
While he was with Peterborough, Jeff could never stay in Oshawa for long. “When I would visit with the Petes, it would be quick. As soon as the game is over, we would go. I didn’t have time to discover the city.” Now living in Oshawa, Jeff is enjoying the city and continues to explore it when the chance arises.
Jeff has enjoyed becoming part of the Generals organization. He mentioned his coaching staff of DJ Smith, Roger Hunt, and Paul McFarland and how they work well together. He commented that they give him the confidence to sit back and let them do their own thing. He also noted the staff at the General Motors Centre. “They bend-over backwards to help us out and it’s really appreciated.”
Jeff says he rarely gets a chance to relax, but when he does he says he’ll spend his time either with his family or by reading a book. He is a huge music lover, and enjoys watching concerts. His favourite artist is Kid Rock.
Some advice that Jeff has for those who want to be involved in junior hockey is that they have to be doing it for the right reasons. “Don’t expect to get right to the top. If you want to do it for your ego, or if you want to get rich, you’re not going to enjoy it. You have to be passionate enough to stick through it. When I was working for Phoenix as a scout I would be gone for days at a time, sometimes a different city every day.”
Jeff Twohey is a good example of hard work, determination and commitment getting you where you want to be. Along with his strong passion for the game, these characteristics are what have helped Jeff move through the ranks and be successful in the game of hockey.