Archive for the ‘Industry Experiences’ Category

2017Aug 30

SPAD Internship Profile: Matt Mueller and MLSE

Fourth Year SPAD student Matthew Mueller did his internship with Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment. Matt, through his busy schedule, was able to give us some insight into his role with MLSE in their Global Partnerships department and took the time to offer up some advice to future and current SPAD students on internship opportunities.

SB: What is it like to be working for MLSE, one of the biggest sports organizations in Canada and even the world? Were and/or are you a fan of any of their sports teams? Is that what drove you to work for them?

MM: Working for MLSE was an all around great experience. It was a tremendous experience to learn first hand from some of the best minds and personalities in the sports and entertainment industry. The great thing about interning with MLSE is that they provide you so many opportunities to be involved and learn about many different aspects of the sports industry. It was both enjoyable and educational to be part of an organization that is so highly regarded within Canada and even around the world. Before my internship I was a fan of their teams, but that is not the only factor that led me to applying to MLSE. Looking at MLSE as a whole, it is obvious that they are an organization that strives to be better every single day. They are a leader in the sports industry and are always looking for the next great idea, which is what drove me to apply for their organization.

SB: Can you give us an idea of what your internship is all about? What are your duties and day-to-day activities?

MM: My internship focused on servicing of MLSE’s partners on a day-to-day basis. My responsibilities varied every day depending on what was taking place over the coming weeks. Some days I would be busy helping plan events, while other days I would be fulfilling partner requests for things such as merchandise or tickets. I also had some regular tasks such as sitting in on status calls with partners.

SB: While you are working is there a sense of pride that comes with working for such a historic team?

MM: There’s definitely a huge sense of pride that comes with working for an organization like MLSE. When you look at their teams, they are so well known and highly regarded within Canada. The Maple Leafs also have such an outstanding and storied history that it is hard not to be proud to work for the organization.

SB: What advice could you give to current SPAD students that will be applying for internships in the future?

MM: One piece of advice I have for SPAD students is to do two different internships if they have the chance. Internships are such a great way to get a first hand learning experience and one of the great things about SPAD is that we are given the opportunity to have two internships. Another piece of advice I have is to apply for one internship in the position you have the most interest in, and another position you know nothing about. Going into the internship period, I could see myself working in partnerships, so it was a great way to “test out” the position and see if I really would like to work in that area. On the other hand, I knew very little about team operations and working for TFC taught me about a side of the industry that we do not learn about in SPAD and that I knew almost nothing about.

SB: What was your favourite or most memorable moment?

MM: It’s hard to pick just one moment; there were so many great experiences throughout my time with MLSE. However, if I had to choose one moment it would probably be GP Summit. GP Summit was an event in which MLSE invites their partners for a one-day conference to hear from leaders in the sports industry. The speakers and panels discussed industry best practices for sports partnerships, as well as the direction they are headed in the future. The day also included the live announcement of Sebastian Giovinco’s MLS MVP award as well as a panel with Brendan Shanahan and Masai Ujiri. Overall, the day was a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

SB: What are your future career plans? Has the internship given you any foresight into what you would like to do after graduation?

MM: I am still unsure of what I would like to do in the future, however both of my internships with MLSE definitely opened my eyes to the many options in the industry. It was a great opportunity to see how many different departments and how much work is put in to the day-to-day operations of a professional sports team. Although I don’t know exactly what I would like to do, both the team ops and global partnerships internships were exciting and fun jobs, and I could see myself doing similar positions in the future.

SPAD would like to thank Matt for taking the time to speak to us about his past and current experiences. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our current/prospective students to hear about some of the internships and jobs available to SPAD students.

2017Aug 30

SPAD to Host Inaugural Northern Sport Industry Conference

SPAD has announced it’s first annual Northern Sports Industry Conference (NSIC) set to host over 20 sport business experts and over 100 students. The event is set to take place March 2nd to 5th 2017 and will take place both on campus and at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sudbury.

In addition to key note speakers Geoff Beattie, David Chilton, Brodie Lawson, and Ryan Benoit, speakers will be divided into three panels:

Panel #1: International Sport and Sponsorship

  • Andrew Baker – Director of Games, Canadian Olympic Committee
  • Francois Robert – Executive Director of Partnerships, Canadian Paralympic Committee
  • Andrew Greenlaw – Senior Director, Sponsorship Marketing and Strategy, CIBC
  • Jennifer Delvechhio – Senior Marketer, Coke
  • Mark Cecchetto – Business Executive Officer, Nestle

Panel #2: Leaders In Sport

  • Kyla Csumrik – Account Executive, Partnership Marketing, NHL
  • Alannah Della Vedova – Brand Specialist, Loyalty and Innovation, Rogers
  • Peter Cosentino – President, DEC Sports
  • Mark Soder – Senior Manager, Brand Marketing – Golf, RBC
  • Blaine Smith – President, Sudbury Wolves

Panel #3: Breaking Into The Industry

  • Mckenzie Young – Marketing Coordinator, Ottawa Senators
  • Stephen Tihal – Account Executive, Partnership Marketing, NHL
  • Tyler Fitch – Account Coordinator, Season Seat Services, Edmonton Oilers
  • Chris Ackroyd – Manager, In-game Communications, NHL
  • Scoot Rodgers – Manager, In-game Communications, NHL

Delegates will also have the opportunity to work in two different breakout sessions. One with Laurentian University’s Director of Digital Strategy, JP Rains and another with Joey Abrams, former Assistant General Manager of the Montreal Alouettes.

Students can take the time to learn, network, and enjoy themselves at the conference with a full weekend of planned activities, meals, and socials.

For More Information please visit:

Instagram: @NSIC_LU

Twitter: @NSIC_LU

Facebook: Northern Sports Industry Conference – NSIC


2016Jul 18

Queen’s Sports Industry Conference

QSICThe sport business industry is one of the most difficult and competitive industries to break into. As a result, building a diverse and resourceful network of industry professionals is a core lesson taught to SPAD students upon their first moments in the program. From January 22nd to the 24th, seven SPAD students applied these lessons at the 11th annual Queen’s Sports Industry Conference (QSIC). The seven representatives of Laurentian University were among 120 delegates selected from a 500 student pool all of whom applied to attend this year’s conference.

The conference opened Thursday with a keynote address from Gord Hendren, President and CEO of Charlton Strategic Research. Hendren, a Queen’s Commerce graduate, shared his over 20 years of experience in providing strategic insights and marketing advice with the delegates. The Queen’s graduate was instrumental in the feasibility studies conducted prior to the expansion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, and most recently Toronto FC. Upon completion of the keynote, delegates commuted to the Four Points Hotel where the second keynote of the evening was held. Thursday evening featured Jim Barker, General Manager of the Toronto Argonauts to share his experiences both on and off the football field with QSIC delegates.

Friday was highlighted by the Breaking into Sports Panel which featured company representatives from Gatorade, MLSE, Eventcorp, S&E, and the Smith School of Business. Panelists shared their experiences in the industry and each provided tips on how delegates could make a lasting impression with potential employers. Delegates then moved into the Gatorade Case Classic where Gatorade representatives challenged delegates to create a marketing plan for a specific target market. In just under two hours, delegates formed a detailed marketing plan with the winning team awarded a trip to watch a Toronto Raptors game in the Gatorade suite with company executives.

The highlight of Saturday was the 2016 Baseball Free Agency simulation. Delegates were separated into three categories: players, agents and MLB team representatives. Each role brought along specific objectives that delegates were to obtain when negotiating player contracts. The simulation was presented by Sportsnet with data assistance from the Toronto Blue Jays Analytics team. Upon completion of the simulation, delegates reconnected for the closing keynote address from Bob Nicholson, former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Toronto Blue Jays.

All SPAD students were thoroughly impressed with the conference. “QSIC was a very well run, engaging conference that allowed students to network with professionals while also featuring the opportunity to experience a present day problem case competition,” said second year SPAD student Ryley Robinson. When asked about attending the conference in 2017, Robinson said “that’s a given”.

The Sports Administration program would like to thank the Smith School of Business and the entire Queen’s Sports Industry Conference organizing committee for their hospitality during the conference. The countdown is on for QSIC 2017!

2016Jan 5

SPAD Speaker Series: Joey Abrams

 montreal-que-january-28-2014-veteran-receiver-s-jOn December 14, SPAD was pleased to welcome former SPAD Grad Joey Abrams, who was the Assistant Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel for the Montreal Alouettes, had just been promoted days earlier to Assistant General Manager. Joey shared his numerous experiences in his journey to becoming a CFL Executive with some students interested in football operations. He talked about various jobs that got him to where he is today; a successful SPAD Grad. Joey Abrams has been with the Montreal Alouettes for almost 11 years, and most of his professional career.

Joey was adamant when saying that for SPAD students our vast alumni are our greatest tools; they all want to help support current and post grads, and he commented on the importance of Tom Blake’s new mentorship program that will be starting up soon. A big part of the talk we had with Joey was about how he took advantage of opportunities. When Joey graduated from SPAD he told us he took an internship with the Alouettes. moving from Sudbury to Montreal for the opportunity, even though it was unpaid and he was giving up a paid job in Sudbury. You might wonder why somebody would do that, but Joey explained it was because he had a dream, he was young, and he wanted to take advantage of the door that was opened for him. He always wanted to be a General Manager for a professional football team. Without that unpaid internship and taking that opportunity, he might not be where he is today.

IMG_2811The small intimate setting in the new SPAD Learning Lab allowed for lots of interaction between Joey and the students, as Joey answered every one question and gave some very useful pointers such as needing to recognize that failure can be a better teacher than success. He also noted that during confrontations take nothing personally – it’s just business, and finally not to be afraid to disagree. He indicated that these points have proven to being crucial to him being successful in his career and in life.

A cool story that Joey told was about a coach with the Alouettes. This story was about the first team meeting every year where they would discuss plans for the upcoming season. Everyone expecting to see his new formations and tactics to win games and every year he goes up and writes “its a people business.” I think this relates to SPAD and what Joey was trying to tell those who attended. The message is about networking and how powerful it is; the more people you know the more doors that will open for you.

As a last takeaway from our talk with Joey I think the most important aspect of what he said was to set your goals, and to set them high. He gave us 3 steps; Where do you want to be in “x” number of years; how are you going to get there; and then once you are done you need to fight for it. I believe the students who attended got some great insight on how they can improve themselves everyday, and for that, thank you Joey Abrams.

Joey Abrams (SPAD ‘04) provided the group with a unique learning experience along with some advice and knowledge that students do not have the opportunity to get every day. On behalf of SPAD, we would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to us, and wish him good luck with the Montreal Alouettes.


2015Nov 19

John Molson Sport Marketing Conference – SPAD Style


30 #SPADbeauties out in force in Montreal

On November 5th, thirty SPAD students made their annual trip to Montreal for the 2015 John Molson Sport Marketing (JMSM) Conference hosted by the John Molson School of Business and Concordia University. Conference organizers were thrilled to announce that a record number of conference delegates attended the 20th anniversary of the event. SPAD students had the opportunity of networking with other schools from all over Canada and countless business professionals from the sport industry. 5 speaker panels, keynote speakers, a marketing case competition, a dinner gala, social outings each night of the conference, and for the first time ever – workshops, ensured the weekend was not only a busy but memorable one.

Thursday night kicked off with a panel discussion a first in JMSM history; Growing the Beautiful Game panel which featured executives from Major League Soccer and its Clubs where they discussed the quick rise and popularity of soccer in North America. Following the panel discussion, delegates moved into the adjacent room for a Networking Cocktail where we continued the discussion and met students from across North America. Thursday evening concluded with a night out at Hardwax Montreal. The JMSM classic of Rep Your Team was the theme of the night. Almost everyone in attendance showed up sporting their favourite team.

Friday kicked off with the blueprint for franchise for success panel which looked into the high-level strategies that two of the NHL’s elite teams implement for success on and off the ice. Geoff Molson talked about how even though he owned the Montreal Canadians, ultimately the team belonged to the fans. The importance of the fans was prevalent throughout this panel. Fans, and how you engage fans is very important in the sports world and I believe the SPAD students in attendance understood this fact – this is what our program is about – recognizing the importance of many different areas of sport. This interesting panel was followed by the backbone of franchise operations with Jason Faris and Ian Clarke. This panel dove into the strategies teams are implementing to achieve long-term sustainability and growth. From day-to-day operations, to costing, to new investments and development, this panel revealed how a sports franchise operates behind the scenes. As a student interested in the business of sport, it was inspiring to hear and learn how sport is run behind closed doors.

JMSM then launched their first ever workshops. SPAD students had the opportunity to attend 1 of 3 workshops of their choosing including; 1) the successful job applicant. In this workshop students learned how to stand out over the competition and what employers are looking for. 2) A new star rising: overview of the experience from re-building a hockey franchise (Part 1) where delegates had the opportunity to understand how to deal with the challenges a franchise can experience during change; and finally 3) how to get your foot in the door which was with two former JMSM executives who have successfully broken into the industry and how their experiences can help us do the same.

After this delegates had a short break then went to their second workshop. These workshops consisted of public relations & crisis management, where speakers talked about how every organization must deal with unexpected circumstances and learn how to plan and react in the eye of the public. The next option was a new star is rising: experiences from rebuilding a hockey franchise (Part 2). And finally the last workshop choice for this session was marketing through sport, where delegates learned how to create a successful business relationship with a sports organization, from the corporation’s perspective. Delegates then were treated to dinner at Les Rotisseries St-Hubert followed by a casual night out.

Saturday started off with the next panel, Engaging a New Generation. The panel discussed strategies teams are using to garner fan involvement and loyalty. This panel discussed many interesting topics, including how current trends are showing that fans want social media interactions more than they want an autograph. This proves how powerful social media is as a tool for fan engagement. The next panel was The Discretionary Dollar where the panel discussed top level management strategies for selling tickets and driving revenue while maintaining a healthy profit. A big discussion during this panel was regarding ticket pricing and the secondary ticket market. It was mentioned that the secondary ticket market can harm a team due to the fact that once the ticket goes on the secondary market the team can no longer control the brand image associated with the ticket.

Next was one of the best parts of the weekend which was a one on one with Ken Holland, who is arguably one of the most successful General Managers in NHL history. Ken shared some stories from his time as a player in the NHL all the way to his 4 Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. Ken touched on some very key points when running any organization and that is to develop people at their own pace, it’s the only way to tap into their potential, and how every organization needs difference makers.

SPAD students then went to their final workshop where they could choose from: The art of negotiations where delegates were given the chance to learn how to negotiate from the best, former MLB general manager, Ned Colletti. Other workshop topics included engaging a new generation which looked at the panel from earlier and put it into a more hands on context and finally delegates had the opportunity to attend a workshop focusing on “inside the sponsorship deal” where speakers illustrated the anatomy of a sponsorship deal and the importance of activation.

The night ended with a keynote closing address from Bill Clement during the conference gala. The annual JMSM conference is a great opportunity for SPAD students to socialize with other aspiring sports marketers, as well as gain insight from the industry’s top leaders in the historic city of Montréal. SPAD delegates can attest that the invaluable information gained and learned from attending this event over the last few years, and the wisdom shared from guest speakers has contributed to our knowledge and experience and elevates SPAD students – we are contenders and the future of the sports business industry.

2015Feb 3

Internship Profile – Shawn Salaj (Montreal Alouettes)

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch 

For decades, the Canadian Football League (CFL) has provided Sports Administration students with an opportunity to launch their careers in the sports industry. SPAD Grad Marcel Desjardins began his career as a communications assistant with the CFL League Office, eventually rising the ranks to general manager of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. During the 2014 season, each of the four CFL eastern division teams had a SPAD student working within their organization. Shawn Salaj spent his third consecutive year as a Training Camp Assistant with the Montreal Alouettes, an experience that give him a tremendous amount of practical experience that he hopes to use in the future. We sat down with Shawn to learn more about his job:


Q: Hi Shawn, thank you for taking the time to speak with the SPAD Blog. I understand you are coming off of a busy summer and I’m looking forward to finding out more about your time in the CFL. Can you tell us more about how you obtained the position?

SS – For sure. I actually have a neighbour back in Ottawa who is related to a former SPAD grad who works in football operations for the Montreal Alouettes. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him over the years and he is actually how I found out about SPAD. Once he found out that I had accepted the offer to enroll in SPAD, he mentioned a training camp assistant position I could apply for if I was looking to gain some experience in the field. I applied for the position after my first year of university and I was lucky enough to get the position. I’ve been going back every year since.
Q: Can you describe an average day on the job?

SS – Basically my main job was to drive players and coaches around. Training camp was held at Bishop’s University which is about two hours outside of Montreal and it was my job to pick people up at the airport in Montreal and bring them out to camp. I also had to drive players to MRI’s if they got injured. When I wasn’t driving, I was just trying to help out with general administration tasks in the office they had set up at the University. That included, handing out room keys and meal cards to players, entering transactions into the database, assembling the players’ season ticket packages, and a lot of other things.


Q:  That’s amazing that you got to be so close with the players. It seems like you put a lot of hours into your job.  What was the greatest challenge that you faced?

SS – The greatest challenge I faced definitely had to be the fact that I had to drive around Montreal every day. Being from Ottawa, I had never driven in Montreal by myself before and now I was responsible for getting players and coaches where they had to be. It definitely took a while to figure out the airport and how to get to parking as well as figuring out how aggressive I had to drive in the city.

Q: Is this a career you could see yourself doing?

SS – I could definitely see myself working in the CFL in some capacity. I love the game and I’ve really enjoyed my years with the Alouettes. I don’t really know what aspect of the business I would like to be involved in down the road because I’ve enjoyed doing everything so far but I would definitely like to work for a CFL organization some day.


Shawn Salaj & I at the conclusion of a 2014 preseason game between the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Montreal Alouettes.

Q: What is the most important tool or skill that you learned in class that helped you succeed in your position?

SS – Honestly, the importance of networking is 100% the most important thing SPAD has taught me. I’ve always been that shy kid so I really had to make an effort to get myself out there and networking. Getting to know people with the Alouettes has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I’ve had the chance to meet some great people over the past few years.


Q: I know you are also passionate about CFL Football. What was the highlight of your respective experiences?

SS – The highlight of my experience would probably have to be when I had the opportunity to drive Chad Johnson this past summer. I just remember picking him up from the airport and there were people lining up to take pictures with him. I also had the chance to buy him McDonald’s which was an honour. Definitely throwing that one on the résumé.


Q: Do you have any advice for SPAD students who are looking to get into the industry?

SS – My advice to SPAD students is to start early. Don’t wait for your fourth year internship to get experience. Apply for positions you may be interested in right now. It’s a great résumé builder and having that experience before your internship could be the difference between landing an internship you really want and having an internship you are not all that interested in.


Thank you for sharing your experiences with the readers about your experience working in the CFL this summer.

2015Jan 16

SPAD at the World Juniors – Jan Egert (Video Coach of Swiss National Junior Team)

By Blog Contributor David Maika

Jan Egert is a SPAD graduate and is currently the Coordinator of Central Scouting for the NHL, as well as the Video Coach & Scouting Coordinator for the Mississauga Steelheads. Jan also recently worked as the Video Coach of the Swiss National Junior team at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Jan was kind enough to give SPAD Blog the time to ask him a few questions regarding his experience at the World Juniors and beyond.

DM: Thank you for giving SPAD Blog the time to ask a few questions. Before we get into the World Juniors, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

JE: I was born and raised in Switzerland. Moved to Canada in 1999 and grew up in
Westport, Ontario. I came to the Laurentian University SPAD program for five years. Completed four years of my undergrad and then the MBA in Sport Management at Laurentian. After that, I made my way down to Toronto. The sports stuff really started with my internship in SPAD in my 3rd year. I completed a four-month communications internship with the Ottawa Senators. There I met a few people who helped me out along the way; be it as mentors or as connections. I then started out as a scout for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Just a volunteer position and it’s really just developed from there. I made my move down here (Toronto area) and had to get a job outside of the sports industry. I worked in the travel industry for a couple years but always kept my thumb on the pulse of Mississauga. I was hired as a scout and then expanded to the Video Coach and that’s eventually where things started paying off on the video side of things. I started meeting more and more people and my network grew stronger. Then the Swiss National Team came around and I contacted a colleague that been quite successful in Switzerland. I figured I would see if there was an opportunity and the shoe fit. They added me to the coaching staff for the World Juniors.

DM: Could you give a brief description of your role as Video Coach for the Swiss
National Junior Team?

JE: My role of Video Coach essentially is to watch the games live on a laptop, through
the video stream. I mark anything and everything hockey related – from turnovers, breakouts, power plays, penalty kills, scoring chances, individual player shifts. That allows us to review in the intermission, to make an adjustment on the power play or teach a defenceman or forward to chip the puck here or make a play there for example. That was the in-game aspect. Pre-game I always analyzed the opponents’ previous game, power play, penalty kill so we could find any tendencies. It’s my job to identify tendencies for the coaching staff so we’re properly prepared for our next opponent.

DM: As a whole, how would you describe your experience at the World Junior

JE: It was pretty neat to realize the magnitude of the event I was involved in and that I
had a direct impact, basically having a horse in the race. That was a weird feeling, it was really cool, but at the same time intimidating. I learned a lot during the two and a half weeks that I was part of the coaching staff. I think I learned more in that than I would have in a year or two in other places. It was a tremendous experience; eye-opening, humbling and reassuring that maybe the method to my madness wasn’t so far fetched.


DM: You are currently the Central Scouting Coordinator for the National Hockey League
AND you also work for the Mississauga Steelheads as the Video Coordinator and
Scouting Coordinator. How do you manage to balance both positions?


JE: I don’t sleep haha. It’s not easy. It really isn’t. The good thing is there is a lot of
synergy between the two. There’s a lot of overlap but ultimately both Mississauga and the NHL are very accommodating to my schedule as well. They’re both aware of the other so I’m very grateful. I don’t take advantage of it. In terms of work, I don’t count the
hours because I think I’d just say “you’re crazy for doing what you’re doing”. I think at
age 27, I’d rather put in the hours now where I have more flexibility; not in 10 years when I may have additional priorities, be it a family or whatever else there might be at that time.

DM: So you’re a graduate from the SPAD program. What aspect from SPAD has helped
you reach the positions you are in today?

JE: For one, the internship program. It allowed me to see how things worked in the
background. As a student, you don’t really know how things all work until you see it first-hand. You have to have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn lessons along the way, so for me the internship program was tremendous. In terms of curriculum, there’s not really one thing I can pinpoint. The entire SPAD curriculum was a foundation
and after that, it’s really what you make of it. There’s no golden ticket, no golden key to
say do it this way and you’re going to be successful. I think everyone is different and
every opportunity is different. Some people get lucky along the way, some people have to work for their luck. There’s no rule of thumb or guide.

The presentations we had to do throughout our tenure, being forced out of our comfort zone, being asked to take a chance are extremely valuable as well. Those are the kind of lessons I think that differentiate SPAD from a lot of other programs. Making mistakes is acceptable, as long as it becomes a lesson, not a habit. My field trip was in San Jose and going into it completely out of my comfort zone, not knowing what to expect, not knowing the people you’re presenting to. But I believed in my group members (Steve Rachkowski, Erika Campbell, Erin Vagnini & Nicole Thebaud) & myself; and understood that “If we’re prepared, we’re going to be okay here.” It’s those fundamental lessons that are extremely valuable and it’s not so much the 4 Ps of Marketing or steps 1,2,3. I don’t really apply that, especially in my role anymore, but I think the professionalism, the dedication to what we do and the drive to do things well. I think those are all things that SPAD breeds and I think it’s those kind of traits or characteristics that differentiate us from everybody else and that’s the kind of stuff that make us successful.

DM: It seems to be working for you.

JE: So far so good. I’ve fooled them up to this point anyway haha

DM: Do you have any advice you would like to share with the current SPAD students?

JE: My advice builds on each other. One is take a chance, swing for the fence. It’s better to swing for the fence, try to hit a home run and end up with a ground-rule double than to not swing at all. Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it. Be realistic; don’t think it’s easy to get into the hockey world or the sports world for that matter. I’ve invested many, many hours, made a lot sacrifices but I’ve also enjoyed every moment along the way. Swing for the fences, put yourself in the best position you can. Take a chance, believe in yourself and when you have that opportunity, make sure you’re prepared to make the most of it. People are going to react different ways and there’s things you can’t control, so don’t try to control them. Everything you can control – look to do so, make sure you’re prepared, make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row, so that when you’re stepping up to the plate, you know it’s a fastball coming and not a knuckle. Swing away.

DM: Make sure there’s no R.A Dickey knuckleballs coming your way.

JE: As cheesy as it sounds, it’s those metaphors and those models that you can lean on. I chuckle to myself regularly thinking about it. I haven’t made it far, but I’m quite happy with where I am at this stage of my career; and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

SPAD Blog would like to thank Jan for taking the time to talk and we wish him all the
best in the New Year!

2014Dec 17

JMSM Sport Analytic Panel – “By the Numbers”

By Blog Contributor Alex Saunders

On November 6th, over 60 SPAD students attended the 2014 John Molson’s Sport Marketing (JMSM) Conference in Montréal, Quebec. The conference lasted several days and showcased many established sport business minds such as Montréal Canadiens’ GM, Marc Bergevin, and LA Dodgers former GM and current Senior Advisor, Ned Colletti.

One speaker panel in particular highlighted the growth and use of analytics in sport. This panel was appropriately titled “By The Numbers”, moderated by TSN Hockey Analytics Writer, Travis Yost. This panel featured both the aforementioned Ned Colletti and Alex Burwasser, Sports Analyst for Bloomberg Sports. While analytics have been prominently used within the MLB for many years now, analytics have only recently found their way into relevancy within the NBA and the NHL. This summer saw Kyle Dubas and SPAD graduate, Tyler Dellow, find employment within the NHL because of their analytical background within the sport. There has never been a greater opportunity for those looking to find an analytics position in sport than right now and it is safe to assume that the demand for such positions will continue to grow. Here are the key highlights of the panel’s discussion:

TSN's Travis Yost interviews both Alex Burwasser of Bloomberg Sports and former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.

TSN’s Travis Yost interviews both Alex Burwasser of Bloomberg Sports and former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.

  1. Sports analytics are “not the be all and end all.”

The use of analytics to determine an athlete’s future success through past production or analyzed trends is just like any other form of evaluation. There must be a balance during evaluation to achieve success and using analytics is simply just one tool and not the entire toolbox. Colletti stressed the importance of an athlete’s character as another indicator of future success.

  1. “Simply tracking analytics is insufficient. A manager must know how to effectively use these numbers.”

While the idea of predicting your own team’s downfall before it eventually happens may be nice, it is far more important that one knows how to make the necessary changes to prevent said downfall through the analysis of advanced statistics.

  1. You can never remove luck from playing a factor within any sport.

The presence of luck within sport, or what analysts prefer to call “variance,” is the number one reason as to why sport analytics will never be an exact science. Burwasser brought up the example of Montréal Canadiens goalie, Carey Price, suffering an injury during the 2014 NHL playoffs against the New York Rangers leading to the eventual loss of the series. Colletti highlighted his own experience watching Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals hitting three homeruns against Dodgers’ pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, in just five at-bats during their playoff series. Carpenter had only previously hit two homeruns against left-handed pitchers throughout the entire season. These events are impossible to predict and make-up what is so unique about sports and their unpredictability.


  1. “There is no shortage of information in (sport) but getting that information readily available and understandable in short segments is the key.”

Since the “Moneyball” era of the MLB, there has been an incredible amount of information gathered through the use of advanced analytics. Colletti preached the importance of knowing how to organize and formulate this information in a way that is concise and immediately addresses the issue(s) at hand. If on-field managers are unable to understand what you are trying to tell them, then the value of that information is diminished.


  1. Advanced analytics are now used to determine an athlete’s longevity and durability.

Colletti shared that the Dodgers analyze the release of their pitchers’ pitching motions to determine if there is a positive correlation with certain release points and injury or fatigue. Outside of baseball, Burwasser indicated that advanced analytics have determined that a running back in the NFL will likely see a large dip in production during their next season if they receive over 370 total carries on the previous season. Again, this is due to injury or fatigue.

 * * *

All in all, analytics are an invaluable tool in forecasting performance and determining what needs to be altered to ensure future success for sport organizations. However, it is important to operate with a balance. The growing trend of analytics in sport exists because they have proven to be an effective tool, but they are just one of many tools to be considered.

2014Dec 15

SPAD Speaker Series – Andrew Baker (Canadian Olympic Committee)

By Blog Contributor David Maika

The Olympics are a global spectacle that brings the world together every two years to marvel at world-class talent. The Olympics also require immeasurable behind the scenes preparation from Olympic Committees across the world. For 2005 SPAD Grad Andrew Baker, the passion for the Olympics has been burning for the past 9 years, as he is currently the Director of Games for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).


SPAD students were given the opportunity to network with Baker, as he took the time out of his busy schedule to come to Sudbury. Baker has been involved with 4 Olympics and 2 Pan American Games and was adamant on how students need to “create your own luck.”  Baker knows what it takes to reach the top and he wanted to share his journey working with the COC with current SPAD students.Even during his time in SPAD, Baker was passionate about being involved with the Olympics. He expressed his interest to professors and even reached out to a former SPAD graduate for an internship opportunity. Though he did not get hired for the position, he created his own luck. He showed his passion and was offered a job with the COC upon graduating in 2005. Though it was only a five-month contract, Baker worked hard, created his own luck and was offered another contract.



Andrew Baker speaks to SPAD students from all four years about his experiences at various Olympics and PanAm games, including Vancouver 2010.

In 2006, Baker was promoted to the Team Operations Coordinator, where he coordinated the logistics for the 2007 Pan Am games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Baker talked about how these events helped him develop the skills required for the job and how he “learned to work in a pressure cooker environment.” Baker was again promoted, this time to Project Manager in 2008. His responsibilities included implementing the logistics plans for the Canadian team at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Vancouver Games was Baker’s favourite experience to this date, where he lived and worked in the Olympic village and was able to share and experience the excitement of Canada’s national pride being displayed. Baker then worked as the Manger of Logisticsfrom January 2012 to February 2013 before being promoted to Director of Games. Baker is currently working on the Pan American Games that are to be held in Toronto next summer, where he wants to help host one of the most successful Pan Am Games to date.


After laying out the timeline of his career, Baker explained his thoughts and what current SPAD students can do now to make their mark. Baker stressed the importance of networking, adding value to every task and always striving to learn. Learn by asking questions, listening, not being afraid to make mistakes and by writing your learning experiences down.


SPAD students were given a tremendous opportunity to listen to an industry professional and learn from the experiences he shared. Students were also given a question period, where Baker offered insightful answers. On behalf of all SPAD students, we would like to thank Andrew Baker for speaking to SPAD students and we wish him all the best at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games!

2014Dec 9

JMSM Sport Marketing Panel – “Decision Makers”

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch

At the John Molson Sport Marketing Conference in Montreal, students were given the opportunity to listen to two “decision makers” in the professional hockey industry. The panel was hosted  by TSN’s Darren Dreger, and featured Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin, as well as the Assistant General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Julien BriseBois. Much of the discussion went into how NHL teams operate, and how organizations make their decisions.

While Bergevin and BriseBois spent time talking about the everyday decisions they are required to make in regards to assembling a competitive team on the ice, they also gave a great amount of advice to students looking to enter any field in sport, whether on the hockey operations side or elsewhere. Here are the biggest learning points discovered via the panel discussion:


Darren Dreger (TSN), interviews Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin and Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant General Manager Julien BriseBois.

  1. “Never get too high, and never get too low.”

Bergevin stressed on the importance of keeping a level head. He leaves his job at the rink, and tries his best to keep his work out of his family life. When there’s reason to be overly excited, he tries to act like he’s “been there before.”


  1. “If you work for your salary you look forward to your pay checks on Friday. If you work for your passion, you look forward to Monday morning.”

Both Bergevin and BriseBois touched on the importance of pursuing a job that you are passionate about. They are both in love with what they do. BriseBois touched on the importance of having a solid work-life balance, but also pursuing something that genuinely interests you is vital in order to have a successful and enjoyable career.


  1. When there is a big decision to be made, make a hard decision, then move forward.

Few jobs face more scrutiny than being in charge of assembling the roster for a pro sports team. Bergevin touched on the importance of making a tough decision to the best of your ability, and then moving forward. Hindsight is 20/20, and it isn’t healthy to let decisions that don’t pan out overwhelm you or negatively affect you in future decisions


  1. Character is “how badly you want it.”

Dreger asked both Bergevin and BriseBois to classify what “character” was to them. BriseBois answered that, to him, it was how bad someone wanted it. According to BriseBois, it’s paramount to put your full effort into what you do if you want to get somewhere that is competitive. For him, there are only 30 General Manager positions in the world, and if he wants one of them, he knows he has to give it everything he has.


  1. Character is “the way you face adversity.”

Bergevin’s response to the Dreger question was a little cliché, but still incredibly valuable. How you handle yourself when facing adversity is the separating and deciding factor, according to Bergevin, on who makes it far in their career and who doesn’t.


Stay tuned for more articles from keynote industry speakers from the JMSM Conference in Montreal.