Archive for February, 2013

2013Feb 26

Analyze This: SPAD is a World Leader in Sport Business Analytics

SPADLogo1By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

SPAD and MIT are two acronyms that have never sounded so perfect together.  At this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the SPAD team of Darby Reive, Matt Jackowetz, and Katarina Schwabe will be presenting their solution to the case competition to a panel of judges in the undergraduate case competition. To earn the honour, the SPAD team needed to compete in a blind review by a panel of experts who ranked SPAD as one of the top three undergraduate entries.  By being selected as one of the three finalists, SPAD has already proven to be one of the top three programs and now has a chance to come away as the champions of what Forbes has called the “Super Bowl of sports analytics.”

SPAD has traditionally produced business professionals well-versed in sales, marketing, and sponsorship, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering students entering the program expect to leave with the ability to provide creative solutions for organizations.  Today, the method for producing a solution requires more than just a creative thought process, and that’s where sports business analytics come into play for these students.  Their decision to submit a solution to the case stemmed from their increased interest and awareness of sports analytics and economics.  Along with some of the interesting recent publications that have brought sports analytics into mainstream culture (ie. Moneyball, Scorecasting, etc.), the students’ interest was spurred after working for the Institute for Sport Marketing this past summer.  There, Darby, Matt, and Kat received training in analytical software and completed projects related to sport analytics.  At the beginning of the academic year, the trio founded the Laurentian University Sports Analytics Group ( where they could work on their own projects and conduct research pertaining to their interests in sport analytics.  From their experience, the impact that this relatively new subject in sport can have on leagues, teams and other organizations makes it worthwhile to progress with their research.  Darby and Matt have also begun the process of earning a Minor in Economics to supplement their interest in sport analytics and their Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree in Sports Administration.

Looking forward, the group will be preparing throughout the week in advance of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which will be held March 1-2.  This year’s undergraduate case pertains to examining potential new business opportunities using’s “At The Ballpark” mobile app. The presentation is slated for Friday, where they will speak in front of the likes of Mark Cuban, Brian Burke, executives with Ticketmaster, ESPN, and other major faces of the industry.  Final results of the competition should be announced on Saturday. Darby states, “the opportunity extended to us is certainly once in a lifetime.  We’re fortunate to have received significant support for our peers and professors, and we look forward to presenting our case to the panel.  For now, we’ve got a lot of work to do!” From everyone in SPAD, good luck!

Stay tuned to the SPAD Blog for more details of the events in Boston and follow the @LU_SPAD official Twitter feed for any updates.

2013Feb 25

SPAD Student Profile: Scott Rodgers – Mr. President

scott picBy SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

The School of Sports Administration has a Students Council that operates throughout the academic year, consisting of mainly third-year students (as many of the fourth years are off on their internships), as well as first and second year representatives to represent and coordinate activities on behalf of the SPAD student body. SPAD Council is a great way to be involved in the program and another way in which the program prepares students for the real world by working as a team with students and faculty, and putting on great events such as Frosh Day, and SPAD Bowling for everyone to enjoy. Scott Rodgers, the 2012-13 SPAD Council President talks to SPADBlog more about his role on Council and within SPAD, and testifies to prospective students about the unparalleled opportunities and experiences he has gained over the past few years from his time in the program.

Q: What are some of your duties as SPAD President? Tell the readers more about your role on council and within the program.

SR: The President position on the SPAD Student Council has been a very fulfilling experience thus far. Some of the duties associated with being President include chairing Council meetings through the academic year, and acting as an ambassador of both the Council and the SPAD program as a whole at Laurentian University functions. Some specific tasks included the opportunity to coordinate the annual trip for SPAD student attendees of the John Molson Sports Business Conference in Montreal, as well as organizing the SPAD clothing line, “SPAD Wear”. Throughout the year, I also assist the other members of the Council with their assigned activities, and in general am available to all students for any queries or concerns they have that I can help with.

Q: Why did you choose to run for this position and what made you want to represent the program as their student council president?

SR: What’s great about the SPAD program at Laurentian is the sense of unity it encompasses. Since day one, I’ve developed lifelong friendships with not only the students in my year, but also the students in all four years of the SPAD program. Because of this, I chose to run for the President position because it is a great opportunity to represent the united family of students making up the SPAD program. Also, my two predecessors Nick Arruda and Chris Ackroyd (who were SPAD Presidents in 2011-2012 and 2010-2011, respectively) both did an amazing job with the position and recommended it to students as a great way to act as an ambassador of the SPAD program, which I truly believe in.

Q: Talk about SPAD as a program and your experience in it.

SR: Most people are not aware that the SPAD program is the only program in Canada that awards graduates with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Sports Administration. I was certainly one of those people when I first applied to SPAD, but the uniqueness of the program really presented itself once we all arrived in first year. The concepts we learn throughout the 4 years of the program are undoubtedly the keys to success within the sports industry, because our amazing faculty members make it their priority to have students ready for the real world upon graduating. The unity of SPAD students is really great to experience as well, and the friendships that I have made will most definitively make the SPAD experience one of the most memorable 4 years of my life.

Q: How has being on council prepared you in any additional way for your upcoming internship as a third year student, and the real world?

SR: A common theme in the SPAD program is that communication and the ability to work as a team will determine your success in the real world. As President of the SPAD Council, I have the honour of working alongside a highly motivated Council who all do incredible jobs with their respective positions. I feel being on Council has prepared me for an upcoming internship and the real world through positive communication and teamwork with this great group of students, as it has led to several successful Council events and certainly more to come. I also have the opportunity to sit on the SPAD Academic Council and the Faculty of Management Council, where Laurentian faculty members discuss real-life events and current issues. I believe being able to witness and contribute to professional discussions will also serve as a prequel to an internship and the real world.

Q: What advice do you have to offer to those applying to SPAD and those coming to the program next year?

SR: As only a third year student in the SPAD program, I can confidently say that these three years have been the best three years of my life. The SPAD program and Laurentian University as a whole develop true business professionals, and since day one I’ve never looked back. Although it is hard work at times, all of the great friendships made and SPAD events held throughout the years certainly outweigh a little bit of homework along the way. There has been a lot of experience working in groups either in class or on Council. This is the only program of its kind in the country, and is the gateway for students to work in the sports industry, and in my short time here I have had many opportunities to learn, such as the unique Championship Selling and all our other sport specific classes, to our Event Management course and running the SPAD Hockey Tournament, that give me a competitive advantage in the real world. After all, Cabral “Cabbie” Richards once said – “First SPAD… Then the Universe!”council pic

Thank you Scott for taking the time to speak to our readers a bit about your experiences in SPAD and the important role student leaders play in the success and enjoyment of the SPAD experience for all students. All the best in your internship and all your future endeavours. You are a great ambassador for the program.

2013Feb 22

SPAD Internship Profile: Justin Simpson – Director of Hockey Operations with the Providence College Friars

Justin Simpson_pic copyBy SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

Fourth year SPAD student, Justin Simpson is currently completing his internship at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island as the Director of Hockey Operations for the women’s varsity hockey team.  Justin is the first SPAD student sent to Providence College and Justin was kind enough to help us document his experience so far.

Q:  Working in Providence is an atypical internship destination for SPAD students.  How did you come across the position, what motivated you to apply, and how has your experience been at Providence College?

A:  My cousin, Brittany Simpson, played hockey at Providence College for four years and was team captain in her senior year.  During my third year at Laurentian University I started looking for internships, specifically in hockey operations where I then emailed every team in the Ontario Hockey League as well as Canadian Interuniversity Sport, but was unable to find an internship opportunity.

That same year, at our family Christmas dinner, Brittany and I talked about what I wanted to do for my internship.  After expressing my passion for hockey operations and the fact that I was unable to find an internship in that field, she said she would talk to Bob Deraney for me.  Bob is the head coach of the Providence College Women’s Hockey team, who Brittany played for during her time at PC.  I was fortunate because Bob and the Women’s Hockey program were looking to hire the program’s first ever Director of Hockey Operations.  Bob and I emailed back and forth for a while and spoke on the phone a couple of times.  I also met him while he was recruiting in Toronto and was offered the position soon after.

My experience at Providence College has been amazing.  I couldn’t have asked for a better internship and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity of a lifetime to jump-start my career in the hockey industry.

Q:  Your title is Director of Hockey Operations, which can certainly cover a variety of duties.  What exactly are your responsibilities at Providence College and what would you typically do on or in preparation for a game day?

A:  The Director of Hockey Operations position is basically a hybrid of an entry level coaching position and a management position.  On the hockey side of things, I am the video coordinator.  This involves using STEVA Hockey Pro during games to clip significant events that happen on the ice for the coaching staff to review in between periods and after the game.  I also manage our video database and control video exchanges with other teams for pre-scouting opponents.  After our games I break down the video even further and control the video program during team video sessions.  I also manage our recruit database, which involves entering the coaches’ scouting reports and any additional information they have on prospects when they return from recruiting trips.

On the business side of things I work directly with the marketing department to promote and grow the sport of women’s hockey, which can be a challenge at times.  I coordinate the team’s travel, meal, and lodging plans.  I also supervise our game event staff members who sell merchandise, programs, and concessions.  They also video tape our games and track statistics for the team as well.

These are my main responsibilities but I also have many other duties on both the hockey operations side of our organization as well as the business side.

Q:  How have you applied the knowledge you’ve gained in SPAD to your position at Providence College?

A:  SPAD helped prepare me for this position in a number of ways.  I think the demands and deadlines SPAD places on their students ensure they know how to use their time effectively and how to meet a strict deadline.

In my position at Providence College I always have numerous things on the go, similar to in SPAD having exams, presentations, papers and much more.  I’ve had to be very organized to know what needs to be completed in the short term but also what needs to be finished in the long term.  I also believe that with the amount of group work and presentations required of SPAD students, my interpersonal skills have improved drastically since my first year.  This has made meeting important figures in the hockey industry that much easier and speaking to large groups (Providence College students, the team, community/high school teams, and community kids) much more comfortable.

Justin Simpson (back row, far right) and the 2012-2013 Providence College Friars women's hockey team.

Justin Simpson (back row, far right) and the 2012-2013 Providence College Friars women’s hockey team.

Q:  You have experience working in both amateur and professional hockey for the Sudbury Wolves and Capital Sports Management, respectively.  How have those positions prepared you for the job of Director of Hockey Operations?

A:  Although they were great learning experiences, my positions with both the Sudbury Wolves and Capital Sports Management were not as intensive as the Director of Hockey Operations position here at Providence College.  I consider those former jobs my entry into the hockey industry, which is a major reason why I was offered the position at PC and why I have been so successful here.

Q:  What are your plans for when you’ve completed your internship at PC?  Do you plan on pursuing a career in hockey or perhaps veer off the path you’ve created and try a different field or sport?

A:  I plan on working in the hockey industry for the remainder of my career in a coaching or management capacity.  I like the business side of sport and hockey but I prefer to work as a coach, scout, general manager or any other position in hockey operations.  Ever since I realized playing hockey for a living was not a possibility, I have always wanted to work in hockey operations.


2013Feb 15

SPAD Alumni Profile: Marcel Desjardins


SPAD Grad Marcel Desjardins is named as the first-ever General Manager of the expansion Ottawa CFL franchise. (Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun)

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

As many of you know, SPAD is fortunate enough to have an extensive network of successful alumni. Marcel Desjardins, a SPAD graduate, was recently appointed as the first-ever GM of the new Ottawa CFL franchise. Marcel is a 3-time Grey Cup Champion and has held positions as Assistant GM of the Montreal Alouettes, and GM of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Lucky for readers, Marcel was able to take time out of his busy schedule to share his experiences in his career, and answer a few questions about his new team’s future.

Q: Coming from storied CFL franchises such as Montreal and Hamilton, what are some things you would like to see happen with fans and the city as football returns to Ottawa?  

MD: From a football operations perspective, we will deliver a product on the field that fans can be proud of, reminiscent of the glory of Ottawa’s CFL teams of the 60’s and 70’s.  Although with an expansion franchise, the won/loss record may not be to that level initially, the team will deliver competitiveness and excitement to the fans of the Nation’s Capital.

Q: You have been in the CFL for many years from the league’s head office, to operations, to Assistant GM and GM for the Alouettes and Ti-Cats respectively. What were the most important things you took from these experiences? 

MD: All of my experiences in the CFL have been invaluable.  From an administrative standpoint, my years at the CFL Office were instrumental in giving me a clear understanding of player contracts and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Players’ Association.  My time in Montreal has allowed me to take this knowledge and enhance it with respect to negotiating and writing contracts.  Montreal also allowed me to develop a eye and a system for scouting players at all levels.  From a philosophical perspective, it is imperative to be proactive in this business in order to make the most informed decisions as opposed to reacting to things as they come up.  I have developed my own philosophy on how to build a team, both on and off the field and what football operations structure works best.

Q: What are some of the challenges you will be facing prior to Ottawa’s opening season in 2014?  

MD: The greatest challenge we face in Ottawa will be building a roster from scratch through the CFL Draft, the Expansion Draft and free agency.  We will be doing a lot of scouting and evaluation of players in the CFL, NFL, CIS and NCAA as well as free agents in order to be in the best position to draft and sign players based on the timelines provided by the CFL.

Q: You are essentially building the organization from the ground-up.  What kind of qualities and people in the sports and business industries do you look for in this process?

MD: I will be looking for staff who are first and foremost quality people.  They will also be skilled and experienced CFL personnel evaluators and administrators.  The people hired in our football operations department will possess the ability to multitask, will have tremendous organizational skills as well as the discipline to work unsupervised.

Q: As a SPAD graduate, what advantages did you have entering the workforce from school with your background in sport business?  Were the CFL and front office always your aspirations, or were there other considerations while at school? 

MD: The biggest advantage I had when I left school and secured a position at the CFL Office was the fact that at that time, the CFL Office employed a number of other former SPAD grads.  In addition, I grew up a fan of the Canadian Football League and since my first position at the CFL Office was as a Communications Assistant, I was well versed in the CFL’s history and current issues.  While at school, my aspirations were to work in sport in some capacity but I was never really focused on any particular sport.  I honestly thought that amateur sport might be the direction I would go in initially but things turned out differently and looking back on it now, I would say it turned out OK.

Q: What would you say is the biggest factor throughout your career that got you to where you are today as GM of the new Ottawa franchise and a 3-time Grey Cup Champion? 

MD: Obviously my experience in the Canadian Football League, both at the league office and at the team level has allowed me to acquire a diverse CFL background that few people possess.  My tenure with the Montreal Alouettes was instrumental in allowing me to learn and grow both as a CFL executive and as a person.

Q: Past, current, and prospective SPAD students can read and learn from your success story.  What professional advice would you offer to such on seeking out internships and careers in the sport industry? 

Marcel & Jeff Hunt

Marcel Desjardins introduced as General Manager by Jeff Hunt, President, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press).

MD: Don’t take shortcuts!  I remember my class/internship as Media Relations Officer for the Sudbury Wolves.  I had to prepare stats and game notes for all 33 homes games plus playoff games in addition to being in attendance for all of these games.  When I look at that experience and the amount of time I put in to get a good grade from that class/internship, versus the time that other students put in to organize a seminar for a few hours, I wondered if it was worth all those hours.  However, I know that I was able to get much more out of that class/internship than others were able to get out of their relatively short project.  In other words, do what you know is right and is going to be the most beneficial to you and your career in the long run versus opting for the easy out – this applies to classes, internships and of course your career.

Marcel will spend the next year assembling the new Ottawa CFL franchise staff and team to take the field on 2014 in their opening season. We here thank him for his time and advice, and wish him the best of luck in his task ahead.

2013Feb 14

SPAD Brings Yukigassen to Ontario…and the Fun Snowballs Into a Media Frenzy

LUSB_action copyBy SPAD Bloggers Cameron Brooks and Benoit Roy

The sport of Yukigassen has taken over Laurentian University!  On February 8-10, 2013, third and fourth year SPAD students Darby Reive, Matthew Jackowetz, Benoit Roy, Brady Scott, Kendra Lilly, Andrew Berlingieri and Andrew Corradini orchestrated the first ever Yukigassen Canada sanctioned event in Ontario, the LU Snow Battle presented by SGA/AGÉ.  Over 70 participants made their way to the Laurentian Soccer Fields to take a chance on the new sport of Yukigassen and fight for snow battle supremacy.  The result was a weekend of fast paced snow battle action, closely fought matches, and the energy one would expect from students who were powered by Red Bull and keen to participate in a sport never played in their home province before.  The only thing stopping them was the incredibly cold weather which eliminated the use of the incredible snow ball making machines provided by Yukigassen Canada, but a suitable replacement was found in nerf balls. Check out the action here with the latest episode on the SPAD YouTube channel.

The tournament began with a “Learnament” on Friday where players were encouraged to learn the rules of the game while developing strategies for success on Saturday and Sunday.  Round-robin play proved to be very intriguing with nine teams fighting for the prestigious first ranking going into Sunday’s playoff bracket.  When play concluded, the all-SPAD team “Snow Us Your Balls” were sitting undefeated in first position.  Before the finals began, the first ever Old Rock Roastery Snow Bowl was played, where two members of each team were selected to compete in a mock-Pro Bowl.  Game MVP Mackenzie Boyden made his way into the record books and was awarded some swag presented by BeaverTails, who were kind enough to serve up delicious winter treats all weekend.LUSB_fistsofflurry copy

In the championship match, “Snow Us Your Balls” and “Fists of Flurry” battled it out for the right to be named the winners of the first ever LU Snow Battle.  Five long, gruelling, and exciting periods of Yukigassen treated fans to some fantastic play with “Snow Us Your Balls” taking an early lead due to the heroics of Steve Walsh, but it was “Fists of Flurry” who snatched up the win in the final seconds of the last period to be deemed Ontario’s first Yukigassen Canada Provincial Champions.  They were awarded the grand prize of free pizza for the rest of the school year provided by tournament Gold Sponsor, Fat Tuesday’s Pizza.  They now have an opportunity to battle in the Yukigassen Canada National Championships in March – congratulations guys!

LUSB_Ocommittee copyFortunately, the LU Snow Battle garnered much local media attention which began with tournament organizer Darby Reive’s interview with Markus Schwabe on CBC Morning North prior to the event, which can be found here. During the tournament, CTV News profiled the LU Snow Battle during Friday’s “Learnament” much to the excitement of the participants in attendance.  Darby Reive and SPAD Student Council President Scott Rodgers were featured in the release which can be found here.  Finally, the Sudbury Star presented a front page picture of the LU Snow Battle following the tournament and Northern Life released a feature article on the event highlighting the goings-on of the weekend, which can be found here.

As with any SPAD event, the LU Snow Battle presented by SGA/AGÉ would not have been as successful without the tremendous support from its sponsors:  Presenting Sponsor – SGA/AGÉ; Gold Sponsors – Fat Tuesday’s Pizza and Sostarich, Ross, Wright, & Cecutti, LLP;  and Supporting Sponsors – Old Rock Roastery and Red Bull.  Event organizers appreciate that students took a chance on the new sport of Yukigassen and they would like to thank the great people at Yukigassen Canada for being so supportive in the creation of the LU Snow Battle.  Until next year, roll with the snow balls and KANPAI!

Yukigassen banner

2013Feb 12

SPAD and the Wolves: Sudbury’s Two Great Sport Franchises Working Together

sudbury-wolves-logoBy SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

Over the course of a SPAD degree, most of the classes taken help to teach students how to manage sport from the business side of things. Marketing, finance, and media are just some of the specific classes taken in order to prepare students for the working life once the degree is over. Throughout the event management class, students are designated to organize campus-wide events, giving them the responsibility to run the events independently and successfully. Over the past number of years within SPAD, many students have taken these responsibilities one step further to get a better understanding on what it is like to run the operations of an event on a larger scale. For 34 nights of the year, the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves trust a select group of SPAD students enrolled in the Independent Projects class to help them with their ever important game day operations.

Throughout the game day operation for the Wolves, the students helping out are split up into two groups, one group down at the ground level and another up in the boxes behind the fans. “Working behind the scenes for the Wolves has provided a great learning experience for me,” said Brady Scott. “There are a lot of things that I never appreciated as a fan that I now see as being very important to making the fan experience more enjoyable.” For those down on the ground level, the night begins early as they have to be at the arena two hours prior to game time to help prepare any sponsorship activations for the game. Old posters from previous games are taken down and replaced by new ones that promote sponsors of the team, as well as preview Sudbury’s next home game. After completing their pre-game duties, students take up their positions in the stadium to help accomplish all the job they need to do while the game is going on. These tasks include completing any in-game promotions and giveaways the team is doing, as well as collecting some stats and send the wolf across the rafters whenever the home team scores.

For the two students up in the boxes however, their jobs are significantly different from the others. The two students who help here are constantly on the computer throughout the game for stats purposes. One of the students is constantly updating the Wolves’ stats on the OHL website, while the second does live game tracking for the coaching staff using a computer program called “Steva”. The information collected by these students is vital to helping the team improve as the season goes on, making their jobs very specific and extremely important.

Beyond all of these jobs however, there twice has been an opportunity for one individual to make a name for himself in another area of the game. “On top of all the other responsibilities, I had the unique opportunity to commentate two of the games online.” said enthusiastic SPAD student Robert McLellan. “It was a very cool experience and I’ve definitely gained a new appreciation for professional commentators.” Despite the mispronunciation of a few names, Robbie’s first commentating duties have been deemed successful by both his coworkers and superiors, and he looks forward to the opportunity to do it once more before the season is out.

At the end of the day, both the Sports Administration program and the Sudbury Wolves are greatly benefiting from the partnership formed a number of years ago. The students participating in the operations clearly gain valuable experience to take with them into their internships at the end of the year, while the Wolves receive a group of strong working volunteers for their organization. This is by far one of the best opportunities to work with a sport team while still being in Sudbury, and all those who have done this job in the past would highly recommend it to any student who comes into the SPAD program.

2013Feb 8

SPAD Prepares for Battle…SNOW BATTLE!

Yukigassen bannerBy SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

The sport of Yukigassen has invaded Sudbury as the first ever Yukigassen Canada sanctioned event in Ontario is set to begin on February 8, 2013 at the Laurentian University Soccer Fields.  Yukigassen is a sport that originated in Japan, and, when translated to English, means “snow ball fight,” which describes the very nature of the sport.  The LU Snow Battle is a Yukigassen tournament which is essentially an organized snow ball fight and is also Laurentian University’s first outdoor winter event.  Third year SPAD students created the LU Snow Battle after partnering with Yukigassen Canada and have since formed an event that can only be defined as truly Canadian and one that fits the Sudbury winter season.  The tournament consists of Friday’s “Learnament” where participants will partake in exhibition games to learn the rules of the sport and to get familiar with strategy.  Round-robin play begins on Saturday and a bracket-style playoff will take place on Sunday where teams will battle until a champion is determined.  The grand prize for the 2013 LU Snow Battle presented by SGA/AGÉ is free pizza for the remainder of the academic school year from tournament Gold Sponsor, Fat Tuesday’s Pizza.

As mentioned, the first ever Yukigassen Canada sanctioned event in Ontario is presented by the SGA/AGÉ and the tournament’s Gold Sponsors are Fat Tuesday’s Pizza (705-593-9393) and Sostarich, Ross, Wright, and Cecutti, LLP. The LU Snow Battle’s Supporting Sponsors are Old Rock Roastery and Red Bull.  Fat Tuesday’s will be serving pizza just outside the Ken Banuk lounge on Saturday and Sunday by the registration area and Red Bull will be available to participants and spectators throughout the weekend to keep the battles going!  On top of these great amenities, BeaverTails will be offering everyone’s favourite winter treats at the LU Snow Battle, and KICX 91.7 FM and CTV News will be making an appearance on Saturday and Sunday as well.  Event organizers will be releasing tournament schedules, news, and promotions via the LU Snow Battle’s twitter feed, @LUSnowBattle, so ready your throwing arms and prepare for battle. KANPAI!

2013Feb 7

SPAD Hosts Big Football Game Celebration That Takes Place Annually On The First Sunday Of February In The United States

SB SponsorsBy SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

As the Super Bowl was kicking off in New Orleans, the annual SPAD Super Bowl Party was held this past Sunday night at Alumni Hall. This year’s PepsiCo Foods-Aliments SB Party presented by SGA/AGE and the Laurentian Voyageurs was as eventful as the game itself, with touchdown “cellys,” MVP of the Game/Fan of the Night, staple snacks such as chili, wings, and beer, and even technical difficulties. However, no social media records were set – the SB Party trended only just behind the #SuperBowl’s 24.1 million tweets.

The Baltimore Ravens took the lead and, despite the power outage at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, didn’t lose all the momentum, holding on to win the game over the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. Similarly, despite two fire alarms, the atmosphere of the SB Party stayed in high spirits for the duration of the event. The evening included several mini-games such as the Football Regatta Toss, won by Liam Dougherty, and the Two-Minute Touchdown Challenge at the PepsiCo Pre-game Party, championed by Scott (or was it Aaron?) SB PartyRodgers. Free chips and salsa for all Party guests, courtesy of the title sponsor, also helped keep everyone well-fed as they took in the game on two HUGE screens. Other contests included an NFL Team Trivia Challenge, and a dance-off for the best touchdown celebration. All actual touchdowns in the game were conducted with much enthusiasm by the Laurentian Band, and third-year students Darby Reive, Brady Scott, and Robbie McLellan gave a spirited reprise of Beyoncé and the rest of Destiny’s Child “Single Ladies” after being inspired by the half-time show.

The organizers of the event: Jeffrey Howlett, Paul Mawdsley, Michael Renaud, Steve Walsh, and Jon Ross would like to forward on another big thank you to all of the event sponsors for their support such as: PepsiCo Foods-Aliments, the SGA/AGE, Laurentian Voyageurs, Molson Coors, Boston Pizza, Montana’s Cookhouse, Toppers Pizza, New Orleans Pizza, Buzzy Brown’s Brasserie, Gloria’s Restaurant, Magicuts Salon, Vrab’s Independent Grocer, Eddies Sport’s Bar & Grill, Gonga’s Grill, Deluxe Hamburgers, Laurentian University Printing Services, and First Choice Haircutters. SPAD will see all you football fanatics back next year for Super Bowl XLVIII!

2013Feb 5

SPAD Interns Invade Georgia

georgia games logoBy SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

This past summer five Sports Administration students travelled down to Atlanta, to help organize and run the Georgia State Games for their SPAD internships. The Georgia Games consisted of 42 different sport events from archery to rugby to lacrosse and track and field. Diane Ritskes, Jeff Tremblay, Adam Johnston, Kendra Lilly, and Jordan Kozak performed various duties in event management throughout the summer for the Games from May till August. These five students shared their experiences from their time in Atlanta working in the real sports business world.

Q: Why did you choose to apply to and go to Atlanta for the Georgia Games?

Diane: I really enjoy event management/sport operations, which is the field I hope to enter when I finish school, and through past interns and talking with Eric (our boss) I thought the GA Games would provide me with the most hands on experience. Compared to other, larger organizations, where you would be part of an event, the GA Games actually allowed interns to run an entire sporting event.

Q: What was your job title and what was your role at the Games?

Jeff: My job title was Track & Field Director for the Georgia Games. I was in charge of organizing and operating our youth and open/masters track & field championships which hosts approximately 900+ track athletes each year.

I was in charge of pretty much everything related to the meet including running the registration process for the 900+ athletes, handling all emails and phone calls pertaining to the event, acquiring sponsorships for the event (this was my favourite part), traveling to other meets in the surrounding area in the months of June & July to promote our track meet, recruiting officials & volunteers and planning all the logistics etc. The day of the event was also a great learning experience as I was in charge of an event that had roughly 1000 athletes, 2000 spectators and several vendors and sponsors. It was a great experience to be in charge and have to deal with situations that arise at events of this size.

Q: What did you learn from working at the Games and how did it prepare you for a career after Laurentian?

Kendra: Working at the Georgia Games was a phenomenal experience that allowed me to learn more about all aspects of event management. By being fully in charge of an entire event, I was responsible for marketing the event, gaining sponsorship, dealing with participants, securing a venue, and the implementation of the event on a very limited budget. This internship prepared me for a career after Laurentian by forcing me to deal with such a large responsibility, and therefore, improving my time management skills. I believe that the skills I gained from working at the Georgia Games will truly benefit me in any job in the future!

Q: How did what you have learned in SPAD help you in your duties in Atlanta?

Adam: The event management course taken in third year was the most applicable learning that was applied to my internship in Atlanta. The process of planning an event from beginning to end is one that gets easier as you complete more events. Although running the Grey Cup Party is different from running a sporting event, the elements of planning for the resources needed, having the proper people on your team and customer relations remain the same. The Championship Selling course was also very beneficial when trying to attract local companies to sponsor an event. In comparison to our co-workers in Atlanta from different sport management programs, I feel that the SPAD program has set its students up for success when completing their internships.

Q: As only a 2nd year student, did you experience any challenges? Do you think this experience will give you an advantage?

Jordan: As the only 2nd year student to go to Georgia, I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal about events in preparation for our 3rd year events class. I was able to apply many of the concepts discussed in second year sport marketing to the three events I directly oversaw.  The most important thing I learned during my time in Georgia was how to manage a deadline when working on an event. Currently, I am part of the committee responsible for running the 2013 SPAD Hockey Tournament. As an event that takes place during second semester, we have between three and four months to organize the event. In order to complete everything, I have learned that a sense of urgency is needed once a task is assigned, a lesson I can attribute to working at the Georgia State Games.

georgia gang

Some of the Georgia Games interns enjoying what little downtime they had. SPAD students are Adam Johnston (back row, second from right), Jeff Tremblay (back row, far right), Kendra Lilly (front row, third from right), Jordan Kozak (front row, second from right), and Diane Ritskes (taking the picture).

SPAD has become one of the the favourite programs of the Georgia State Games. Four years ago SPAD sent our first student to the Georgia State Games and, after rave reviews from the organization, they have recruited students each of the past three years. The organization has already started the process of looking for next year’s SPAD intern. Congratulations to the five students from this past summer and to all the SPAD interns who continue to show why SPAD is the best source of skilled sport business professionals and interns.