Behind the Scenes: Tony Borgford
As the Winnipeg Jets Video Coach, Tony Borgford may have a behind-the-scenes role on the team’s coaching staff, but the Regina native certainly plays a key part in the on-ice success of the Jets.
Borgford is responsible for assisting Jets Head Coach Claude Noel and his staff to be best prepared for opposing teams through the compilation and production of in-game video.
The NHL has seen rapid advancement in hockey theory in recent years, which has led to the formation of intricate plays, schemes and tendencies implemented by every team. Because of this, it is important for a coaching staff to have video footage of the opposition so they can prepare for future games. Just as important is having footage of your own team, in order to assess strengths and weaknesses in past games.
Like the rest of the coaching staff, Borgford travels with the team on the road. Whether at home or away, the team generally sticks to a regular schedule when it comes to the video sessions.
“First thing in the morning, we get ready for our morning gameday meetings,” says Borgford. “Every meeting we have usually involves video of some type. We’ll typically do our special teams meetings first. In the afternoon we usually do a full team meeting on some review stuff from our previous game, as well as some pre scouting on the upcoming opponent, some of their tendencies and systems.”
During these meetings, Borgford will run the video which he has produced, while Noel and his assistant coaches are in charge of presenting it to the players for learning purposes.
Borgford also is responsible for communicating with the rest of the Jets coaches during games, providing in-game video analysis to help the team make appropriate adjustments to their play, on the fly.
A strong background in the game of hockey helped Borgford take on the challenge of video coaching when he began in this role in the middle of the 2002-03 season with the franchise, then in Atlanta. Having played four years at the NCAA level has helped Borgford excel at his job.
“The x’s and o’s, being a hockey person you learn that stuff pretty quick,” says Borgford. “It’s the technical side of things, working with video equipment and computers that I had to learn on the fly.”
While Borgford enjoys various elements of his job, there is one that is of particular satisfaction to the coach.
“The NHL is the best hockey league in the world, and to have an opportunity to be a part of it for my career is very rewarding,” says Borgford. “I’ve met a lot of great people along the way over the years, and continue to meet great people every day here in Winnipeg.”
While working in the NHL has been a highlight for Borgford, things got even better this summer for the coach as he was one of just a few individuals brought in from Atlanta to Winnipeg when the team relocated in time for the 2011-12 season. For Borgford, who has been with the franchise since its inception in 1999, this was a welcome development.
“I was a Winnipeg Jets fan growing up,” says Borgford. “The opportunity (to coach) here was off the charts as far as I was concerned.”