As a pro scout for the Chicago Blackhawks, Alex Brooks spent most of the 2012-13 season gathering personnel data on NHL opponents in the Western Conference as well as their minor-league affiliates in the American Hockey League.
"A lot of scouting -- advanced scouting -- and we'll have our team meetings throughout the season,'' said Brooks, who grew up in Madison, attended West High School and played four years with the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team. "It's a pretty fun job. There's a lot of reports and things like that -- a lot of travel -- but the good certainly outweighs the bad. There's no doubt about that.''
Brooks can feel good about his contributions now that the Blackhawks have advanced through three Western Conference playoff series -- ousting Minnesota, Detroit and defending Cup champion Los Angeles -- en route to a berth in the finals opposite Eastern Conference survivor Boston.
The championship series, the first between Original Six members since 1979, begins Wednesday in Chicago.
Brooks said other Blackhawks scouts were involved with gathering intel on Boston, so his input leading up to the Cup finals has been minimal.
"It all carries on with the players and how they're playing and what they've done so far,'' he said. "I'm pretty much behind the scenes right now.''
Brooks, 36, is one of two UW grads working for the Blackhawks. Paul Goodman has been their strength and conditioning coach since 2008, meaning he was onboard when Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
"I wasn't good enough to play in the Stanley Cup, but I always wanted one,'' Brooks said. "This is my chance to do it.''
Brooks played 159 games for the Badgers from 1997 to 2001. He spent nine seasons in the pros -- seven in the AHL, two in Finland -- a stint that includes 19 games in the NHL with New Jersey in 2006-07. He hooked on with Chicago in 2011.
Brooks is based in St. Louis with his wife, Emily, and their three children. He was on hand for Chicago's games vs. LA during the Western Conference finals, but was waiting Tuesday for a schedule that detailed his itinerary for the finals.
The series with the Bruins has heightened interest for Brooks, who has a lot of family living in the Boston area.
"They have interest on the other side,'' Brooks said. "Their loyalties are there with the Bruins.''
Brooks isn't sure where his career path will take him. He likes what he's doing, but he's eyeing a move up the ladder.
"I have a great opportunity working with a great organization in Chicago,'' he said. "I guess we'll see where things go.
"I do like the management side of things and that's kind of what I'm looking to do.''