Mount Pearl’s Dave Roper, shown here in this file photo with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, has been hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs as an assistant equipment manager for the NHL club.
In what can only be described as an meteoric rise through the ranks, Mount Pearl’s Dave Roper has been hired as an assistant equipment manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, The Telegram has learned
Just a few years ago, Roper was a volunteer equipment manager for senior hockey’s C.B.N. CeeBee Stars, and the major midget St. John’s Privateers.
He was also involved with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador’s high performance programs, and eventually found himself at a Hockey Canada camp in Calgary, where he told anyone who would listen that he was looking for a full-time job in the game.
Among those attending the camp — and listening to Roper — was Scott Burt, assistant coach of the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs. Some time later, Burt would later learn through the grapevine that the Louisiana Ice Gators of the Southern Professional Hockey League were in dire need of an equipment manager; the person who originally held the job had bolted overseas to the Kontinental Hockey League just before the start of the 2015-16 SPHL season.
Roper got the job, his first in pro hockey.
Last season, he moved a rung up the pro hockey ladder, with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, thanks to a relationship he had built with then-Norfolk coach Rod Aldoff.
Aldoff, who was later fired in Norfolk and replaced by Robbie Ftorek, knew Roper from the previous season in the SPHL.
And now, just three seasons removed from the Privateers bench, the just-hired Roper is one of the Leafs’ new assistant equipment guys under Brian Papineau.
He’s expected to be in Toronto in time for the Leafs’ training camp, which opens Friday.