At 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Kent Hughes ’96 wasn’t the biggest or fastest player on the Middlebury College Men’s Hockey team, but his understanding of the game and “hockey sense” made him an all-time great. While his lack of size and speed kept him from being selected at the NHL Draft, his intangible skills have continued to serve him off the ice—first as a player agent, and now as the new general manager for one of the most storied franchises in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens.
Hughes’s hiring was announced January 15, making him the 18th general manager in Canadiens history. The 51-year-old Montreal native will leverage his 25 years of player management experience as he works to revamp the struggling Canadiens franchise.
In his time at Middlebury College (1988-1992), Hughes left his mark as player, and in 2020 was inducted into the Middlebury College Sports Hall of Fame. He was an All-American, and still holds records for assists (140) and points (194) in a career, as well as most assists (48 in 1992) and most points (63 in 1992) in a season.
Hughes earned his JD in 1996, which led to his career as a sports agent, representing some of the NHL’s best players from the past 25 years, including Vincent Lecavalier, Patrice Bergeron, Kristopher Letang, Taylor Hall, and Mitch Marner.
As reported by the Canadiens, in his introductory press conference Hughes discussed the excitement and honor he feels as the new general manager of his childhood team. “For a guy from here, becoming the general manager of the Canadiens is the chance of a lifetime,” he said.