Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

2018Feb 6

Stay The Course

Ever since I can remember, hockey has been in my life, whether that be playing competitively through minor hockey, on TV on Saturday nights watching DScreen Shot 2018-02-06 at 6.04.24 PMon Cherry, or the cold nights playing shinny on the outdoor rink with friends back in my hometown, North Bay, Ontario. I first laced up when I was three years old, as a forward that is and played that role up until I was eleven. I did not have very much confidence in my goalies so I ended up rushing back and standing in front of the net blocking any shot that came at us. It was at that time my dad recommended I might as well put on the pads and I haven’t looked back since. From then on I was between the posts but since I found my role eight years into my career, I had some catching up to do. I had never worked with a goalie coach or went to a goalie school until I was fifteen. When I had the opportunity to go to goalie school, I quickly realized my style had not been taken on by many. My goalie coach recognized this and completely changed my style making many adjustments, which took me a year or two to get completely comfortable with. Since being such a late bloomer I was inexperienced and ended up having to go through many heartbreaks, getting cut from AAA teams up until Midget. Some may think of Appleby (right) at local rink for free skate with childhood friendit as a loss, even myself at that time, but when I look back on it now I think of waking up at 6 a.m. for practice, enduring a forty-minute drive to a small town which is home to the coldest arena I have ever played on to this day, Trout Creek, Ontario. I also think of playing on my high school hockey team, Chippewa Raiders’ first year back into the local high school league, winning only three games throughout the entire season but creating some great memories throughout all the losses. Some people might have described those as setbacks, but those setbacks played a big role in developing me into the goalie and person I am today.




North Bay Trappers Midget AAA take on the elements for a fun practice on an outdoor rink Appleby (second from the right) tries to bring out his skills as a player

North Bay Trappers Midget AAA take on the elements for a fun practice on an outdoor rink. Appleby (second from the right) tries to    bring out his skills as a player

After a hard work of summer camp and tryouts, I made my first AAA team in Major Midget AAA for the North Bay Trappers. From there I was able to work my way through the year, and the hard work paid off as I ended up getting drafted to the Oshawa Generals, in the Ontario Hockey League, in the second round, thirty-fifth overall. Following my draft year, I played a year in Kirkland Lake with the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils. I played that year with the Blue Devils and ended up getting the call for the Generals the following year. I was leaving my family, friends, and my hometown, entering a whole new world I was unfamiliar with. Luckily I was not alone as I had my teammates and my billet family. They treated me as one of their own making me homemade meals and helping me get to the rink. I played there for two years and started to think about what will come after my years in the OHL. I was undrafted but still had one more year along with my overage year ahead of me; I decided then to start takingScreen Shot 2018-02-06 at 12.38.11 AM some courses at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I was interested in business so decided to take their commerce program focusing in microeconomics and business math. While dealing with classes, we ended up having a very successful year on the ice. We made our way to the OHL Conference Finals where we met up with my hometown’s team, North Bay Battalion. After winning that series we began to prepare for the next challenge against Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters. We fought through another huge series winning ourselves the OHL Championship and were on our way to the Memorial Cup. After battling our way to victory winning 2-1 against the Kelowna Rockets, I held the Memorial Cup Trophy in my hands and couldn’t be happier to be in the position I was. After my performances from that season, some NHL clubs began contacting me sending invitations to camps. This was the first time I had ever seriously thought about being able to compete on the professional level. I went to a few different teams’ camps and ended up signing with the New Jersey Devils, playing with their affiliate team, the Binghamton Devils.


Now I was in a somewhat familiar position. Entering a new city, playing for a different team, in a stronger league. I was in my first stage of my professional career. Since I was in the pros now, I had to take all the lessons I’ve learned from my parents and billets and live on my own. This meant finding an apartment, roommates, and figuring out on how to cook for myself. It wasn’t too easy but I managed to figure it out, now living in an apartment in Binghamton with two teammates, we all pitch in together. Now my days typically start up at seven and get to the rink around eight. We stick to the plan for the day whether that is having team meetings or workouts, and then around ten we go for practice. After practice is done, a group of us get together and figure out where the post-practice meal will be. After lunch I head back home and do some meal prep, take a nap, or play some Xbox with my roommates. It’s not your typical job, so I tend to find myself searching for ways to keep busy quite often. In the off-season I surround myself at home with family and friends, I like to spend my summer days at the golf course or on the lake. Game days are fairly similar to regular praAppleby in first NHL appearance against the Colorado Avalanchectice days but just add in the game later that night. I played the majority of my first year of professional hockey with the Adirondack Thunder in the East Coast Hockey League, occasionally getting a chance to play with the AHL team, which was the Albany Devils at the time. The following year I had a larger role with Albany and ended up getting the chance to have my first NHL appearance with the New Jersey Devils playing against the Colorado Avalanche, backing up goaltender Cory Schneider. I couldn’t believe I was in the position I was, and the camera sure caught that. I was joking around with my trainer and the next thing I see is my face smiling ear to ear on the big screen. I’ve always learned to enjoy the ride and that was exactly what I was doing.


I am now entering my third year of professional hockey; I am sharing the starting role for the now Binghamton Devils and continue to work as hard as I can to better myself. My expectations for this season were that Binghamton was my home for the year. I was looking to play lots and focus on developing my game. I didn’t have too high of expectations, I just wanted to come in and have solid year. Halfway through this season I got my second call up to the top level. We were playing against theAppleby NHL Debut Philadelphia Flyers. Again I sat on the bench, ecstatic that I was where I was, and then halfway into the first period I saw Kinkaid go down. I could tell right away that it did not look good for fellow goaltender and that I would most likely be going in. As I looked down the bench I got the nod, my heart started racing as I started to get my mask and gloves together, I kept thinking to myself is this really happening? Before I knew it I had to react to Wayne Simmonds flying down the wing coming directly at me. We ended up losing the game 3-1 however I took it as a very positive experience and a day that I will never forget. A few days later I got told I was getting my first career start against Nashville Predators.

Appleby walking through the tunnel entering his first NHL start

Appleby walking through the tunnel entering his first NHL start

gifAgain, my mind was racing, I had to calm down and try and focus on what I had to do, which is have a good game. My mindset for the game was to focus on making the first save, and move onto the next, keeping my game simple and hopefully do enough to give the team a chance to win. Throughout my whole career I’ve learnt not to take anything for granted, whether that be getting called up, making a team, or being named a starter. I try to take full advantage of those opportunities because they don’t come around too often. It was all very nerve racking but I took advantage of the situation. Once the game got going and I made the first save, I realized it was just another hockey game and I am looking forward to the next.


Written By: Kyle Wilkinson

Contributor: Ken Appleby, New Jersey Devils/Binghamton Devils

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 5.51.20 PM






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.

2015Jun 26

SPAD Grads at the Stanley Cup Final: Scott Rodgers

Rodgers ProfileScott Rodgers (SPAD’14) is Manager, In-Game Communications, at the NHL. While Scott wasn’t involved in the Finals, he was able to give us some insight into his job with NHL and took the time to offer up some advice to future SPAD Grads. Scott was also recently recognized with a distinguished award. Scott was awarded the 2015 Young Achievers Initiative award by the University of Toronto Sports and Business Association.

SPADblog: Thanks for sitting down with us Scott. Can you tell us briefly what your job entails and how you ended up where you are?

Scott Rodgers: In October of 2014, I competed a five-month internship in partnership marketing with the League and was fortunate to get on board as a Manager, In-Game Communications for the 2014-15 season.

The position is based out of Toronto in the Situation Room, which is the League’s centralized video replay room. The room is principally occupied by members of hockey operations and a Manager, In-Game Communications acts as a liaison to help deliver messaging to media and fans for video reviews, rule explanations and game operations issues.

Some other duties include providing relevant statistics and game information in editorial notes to promote positive storylines around the League, as well as utilizing the NHL Public Relations Twitter handle (@PR_NHL) as an outlet to deliver this information to fans.

NHL Tweet

NHL Tweet 2





SB: It sounds like a great job for such a recent graduate. How did you enjoy your experience?

SR: I really enjoyed my first season with the League and did my best to learn about the execution of games, as well as the real-time technology and decision-making hierarchy that accompany any given night in the NHL. It was also great to work alongside the members of hockey operations – many of whom have played in the League – as well as the in-game social media team, which includes fellow SPAD graduate Chris Ackroyd.


SB: While you weren’t involved in the Final, I know that you were very active during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Are there any experiences that stand out that you can share with us?

SR: I took away several highlights from the season, but my two most memorable ones came during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs where I covered the longest game in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history and witnessed the second-fastest three goals scored by one team in the postseason via the Anaheim Ducks.


SB: Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I’m sure that there will be a number of students reading this who are thinking that they would like to follow in your footsteps. Do you have any advice for them?

SR: The advice I give to current SPAD students is to treat every opportunity as a learning experience and a catalyst to whatever the next step in your career might be, as you have nothing to lose by working hard. While writing ability and attention to detail is crucial in any discipline, I would also strongly recommend developing familiarity with the Associated Press Stylebook for any students looking to pursue a career in the communications side of sport.


Thanks so much Scott for talking with us and I’m sure you’re an inspiration to all future SPAD Grads. Congratulations on the recent award and best wishes on the rest of what’s bound to be a successful career.

2015Jun 24

SPAD Grads at the Stanley Cup Final: Chris Ackroyd

Acky ProfileChris Ackroyd (SPAD’12) is the In-Game Social Media Coordinator for the NHL. Many of us were undoubtedly following his tweets and posts throughout the season, as well as during the playoffs. We’re thrilled that Chris has taken some time to answer a few of our questions and to fill us in on some of the behind-the-scenes activities that took place during the Final.
SPADblog: Chris, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us a bit about your job with the NHL?
Chris Ackroyd: My title is In-Game Social Media Coordinator, managing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and sometimes other platforms. During the season, I spend most nights and weekends in the Situation Room in Toronto, monitoring anywhere from 1-12 games simultaneously. My job is to monitor and curate all the video, photo, and news content that is created and to then write copy and distribute through the appropriate channels. I consider myself to be a storyteller, making sure the excitement and passion that is going on in 30 arenas is shared with our fans in a way that they can relate to. The tricky part of my role, specifically during the season, is that much of what I do is reactive. We could have a 10-game night in which there are two hat tricks, three shutouts and countless highlight reel goals, or we could have two 2-1 games with a reviewed goal and a bank-in. When the content is week, I have to work harder to write strong copy that sells the highlights, because the clips and photos don’t always speak for themselves.
SB: Does your job change during the Final? If so, how?
CA: During the Final (with no s, since I have to be a stickler for grammar), there’s only one show going on, and many more events and activities to capture. As a result, I spent the last two weeks between Tampa Bay and Chicago acquiring the best footage to share. Instead of sitting in the Situation Room, I set up shop in the press box to perform my in-game duties. The rest of the days consisted of meeting with our creative team to ensure our graphics were produced, planning our editorial content with the team, and capturing as much unique footage as we could around the cities and arenas, primarily for Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
SB: As a high school student with a lot of options, what made you choose to come north to SPAD?
CA: Beyond the natural answer of combining passions and the uniqueness of the program, I realized that if I wanted to spend my life in hockey, I would have to pull the plug on the pipe dream of playing and get to work exploring other avenues as soon as possible. I decided to study my way into the game, and opened up a second avenue by focusing my on-ice efforts on officiating in the NOJHL, missing plenty of pub nights to drive to Blind River or Manitoulin Island for a single game. I knew that if Sudbury wasn’t right for me that there were other options out there, but after about a month with the program and my new friends, I knew I’d be spending four years in SPAD.
SB: You learned a lot while you were here and we’re wondering what it was that you learned that most helped you in your current job.
CA: For me specifically, having a background in social media from a sports perspective was unique and extremely beneficial.
SB: On top of working hard and taking advantage of opportunities in the program can you tell us how important networking and the SPAD network was to you getting where you are today?
CA: Through a friend, SPAD alumni, and now colleague (Jan Egert), I caught wind of a part-time opening that was a combination of PR and social media with the NHL. Not realizing it, the person I would be working alongside was someone who I had officiated with in the GTA, and so I was able to establish clout early on. I interviewed for a few weeks and was ultimately successful in landing the position. For the 2014-15 season, the in-game PR and social media duties were spilt, and I moved to primarily covering in-game social.
SB: What do you think were skills, knowledge, or experiences that you possessed that most helped you achieve career success?
CA: Being eager to get involved and meeting as many people as possible. The more successful individuals you have as friends, the more likely you are to create opportunities for yourself. Your first job may not be “the one” (and my first wasn’t), but if you truly want to be involved in any sport, you need to always be looking for new and exciting opportunities.
SB: Is there anything you’ve learned in your young career that you think could be useful to pass on to current SPAD students?
CA: So much of the professional world, and more specifically sport, has to do with relationships. It’s a fact that’s repeated over and over, and people want to work with people they know and trust, either indirectly or through others. I’ve had casual conversations with coworkers who have asked “who was your connection to get into the League?”. I’ve also been able to submit recommendations for other SPAD grads who work with the NHL.
The other key piece of advice I would give is to keep mindful of the fact that very few career paths travel in a straight line, so if you’re passionate about a sport or an industry, embed yourself in as many ways as possible. For me, the passion was officiating. While it isn’t directly tied to my work with the League, my knowledge of the game is at times a resource for Hockey Ops, while in return I have access to insight from some of the best officials in the world. The more you can bring to the table, the easier it is to help and to be helped.
SB: Chris, we’ll often hear from student about how they want to work in the sports industry because they are huge fans of the sport or a team. Is it hard to go from being a fan to a professional in the industry?
CA: Naturally, most League employees are huge hockey fans, but it’s incredibly important to separate fandom from work. I’ve been fortunate to have access to any and every corner of several facilities, and my team is in a tricky position because we’re the only people permitted to capture photos and videos with our cell phones. As a result, it’s easy to abuse the privilege, so being respectful of everyone involved in the game is important. Over time you (unfortunately) get used to seeing any and everyone, but there’s always a new cool moment that you wish you could capture beyond just making it a memory.
SB: I’m sure you had some pretty incredibly moments as a fan and professional during the Final (not Finals). Are there any that you think might be fun to share with our readers?
CA: I’ve got a cool SPAD Blog moment – I was in the media elevator prior to Game 6 in Chicago, and I saw a name that rang a bell on someone’s credential beside me — Kyle Davidson. as the elevator was going up I quickly pulled out my phone and hit to make sure it was the guy I thought it might be. I confirmed, then introduced myself quickly before we took our respective spots for the game. After Chicago won the Cup and the party was going on, I saw Kyle on the ice and was able to congratulate him on the victory while realizing that two of the youngest people that were ‘working’ as the Stanley Cup got passed around were both SPAD grads.
Winter Classic
My coolest moment beyond the Stanley Cup Final was during the Winter Classic, when I was on the roof of Nationals Park during the anthem and F-16 flyover as pyrotechnics were going off all around me. Meanwhile, I was trying to take photos and videos while not dropping my phone into the crowd below.
Naturally, the last bit would be where I remind everyone that you can follow our stories at ‘@NHL’ and ’nhl’ on all major social platforms — I’ll be covering the Draft on June 26/27 and we’ll have some cool content to share. I also have some stories about serendipitous events that led me to the Blackhawks’ Cup party the following night, but I’m not sure the internet is the place to discuss them.
Thanks so much Chris. I’m sure all our readers enjoyed hearing about your job and experiences. It’s also great to hear that the SPAD network is alive and well (and reuniting at centre ice when the Stanley Cup is being awarded). It’s great grads like you that inspire our future grads. I’m sure many of them will be reaching out to you…especially to hear about the extra-curricular fun that sounds like you were involved in. Thanks again and enjoy the Draft.


2015Jun 4

SPAD Grads at the Stanley Cup Final

2015StanleyCupFinalsLast night the puck dropped on the Stanley Cup Final. Once again this year SPAD is heavily involved with the Finals. Each of the last three Stanley Cup champions has had a SPAD Grad working in their hockey operations department. It is guaranteed to be the same again this year, as we have a rooting interest in both teams. Ryan Belec (SPAD’00) is the Director of Team Services for the Tampa Bay Lightning, while Kyle Davidson (SPAD’10) is the Coordinator, Hockey Administration and Steve DiLenardi (SPAD’98) is the Senior Manager, Group Sales and Special Projects for the Chicago Blackhawks.

While we are incredibly proud of our grads who are facing off against each other in the Final, the SPAD fingerprint is all over other aspects of the Final. We have SPAD Grads working on the broadcasting side, some in the NHL head office, while many others are heavily involved as sponsors and corporate partners. Over the length of the Final tune in to the SPAD Blog for profiles of SPAD Grads involved with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, interesting stories sent to us from the SPAD family, and even some career advice to those looking to get in to the hockey business, and maybe also reach the pinnacle of success by hoisting the Cup.

If you’re a member of the SPAD Family and  have a story that you want to share about your involvement with the Stanley Cup, please send it along to and we’ll try to include your story in the series of Stanley Cup Final blog stories. Go Lighthawks???

2015Mar 6

2nd Year Events Class Ready to Present to Ottawa Senators

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch

It’s been said time and time again, but a major benefit of SPAD comes from the experiences that students receive over the course of their degree. Field Trip, Internships, and GameDay are major selling points of the program, but there are numerous other projects that are invaluable experiences. This year, students in the 2nd Year Event & Facility Operations class are excited to work with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in what surely will be a tremendous opportunity to gain insight into working in the professional sports industry.  While Event & Facility Operations have always been an important topic taught in the program, it has recently shifted from being taught in upper years to a 2nd year class, and the upcoming project with the Senators will see students work in groups to discuss the Senators recently implemented Sens Supporters Section.


Senators fans cheer in section 319, the "Sens Supporters Section"

Senators fans cheer in section 319, the “Sens Supporters Section”

This year, the Ottawa Senators have reserved Section 319 during certain games for their loudest & proudest fans, offering a chance for Senators super-fans to buy discounted tickets and unite (in red) in the section in an innovative attempt to create a European Football-like atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Center. Fans go through the “Red Scarf Union” (as a Senators supporters group) and are instructed to learn chants & loudly sing them throughout the game. The section has been put to the test in games against arch-rivals like the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans usually show up in numbers that rival the number of home supporters. SPAD students have been tasked with analyzing the current section & proposing additional measures to improve the atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Center for next year.

Students & faculty will travel to Ottawa to present their feedback & recommendations to the Senators. While the presentation with the team will undoubtedly be the focus of the trip, the students will also enjoy a tour of the facility before many will take in a game between the hometown Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. Students will also get an incredible opportunity to meet SPAD alumni and Senators executives prior to the game and at a post-game reception.

Kiersten Briscoe is thrilled at the chance of working with her favourite team, saying “It means a lot. I have learned an incredible amount in the last week. Specifically, how to strip down a problem, and really see what someone is asking. Once you have that, your solutions become a little easier to see. It’s also been a great chance to learn about the Senators and RSU (Red Scarf Union) and a lot of the industry best practices. I’m also excited to learn that the Senators have their own Pulled Pork Sandwich. I’m pretty excited about that.”

With this being a new experience, second year student Shannon Brooks has kindly agreed to partner with the SPAD Blog in sharing the details & stories of the second years’ visit to the nation’s capital. Be sure to check out the SPAD Blog next week for a recap of the trip. The SPAD Blog wishes the 2nd years good luck on their presentations today!

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.


2014Dec 1

SPAD Speaks #1 – NHL Expansion

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch

It is always interesting to see the stance that students take on issues that affect the industry that many hope to one day be a part of. In the first installment of the “SPAD Speaks” series, students were polled on whether or not they supported the NHL expanding to more than 30 teams. The results were very interesting, with the first years having a different opinion than students in second year and older.


Isolating the poll into second years and above, the result becomes almost too close to call, with 48.8% supporting expansion past 30 teams, and 51.2% against it. The second years have just completed their Sport Marketing project on the topic of NHL Expansion, potentially making them more enlightened on the topic than others. A lot of upper years elaborated on their answers, saying that they’d prefer the NHL to explore relocation from struggling markets to more attractive ones (Seattle, Quebec City), rather than through expansion. Other rationale provided by students included dilution of talent, including the process of going through an expansion draft and each team having to give up players.

On the supportive side, by far and away the most popular rationale was summed up by first year Grant Trayner, who said “NHL expansion would be good as it could add a balance to the Eastern and Western Conferences”. The first years were overwhelmingly in favour of expansion, with 69.6% in favour of having more than 30 NHL teams.

Third year Jon Nelsons took a more in-depth look with his opinion on the future of the NHL. “I think the NHL will definitely expand to 32 teams, though relocation will occur first. The NHL ranks last of the big 4 in revenues, and with studies showing Canada is capable of supporting up to 12 teams, the league must strongly consider additional expansion to the north.”

Fourth year Alex Buchanan added “there is a lot of buried talent in the AHL and juniors that are drafted and could play for weaker teams. If they have markets that can support teams once they fix markets like Florida, then I’d agree (with) it.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently downplayed the NHL and expansion saying “even if we decided tomorrow (to add teams), it wouldn’t happen for two or three years”. Even though media has fervently speculated as to where the NHL will expand, it appears that there are no changes imminent. SPAD students as a whole, however, seem to support the notion of expanding to more than 30 teams. Of course, students may just be supportive of expansion due to the hundreds of jobs it would create in the sports industry.

This is the first installment of the SPAD Speaks series. If you have any suggestions for future topics, please e-mail them to .


2013Dec 18

@LU_SPAD Student Profile – Dawson Reale: Young Entrepreneur


Dawson Reale – The Ultimate Collector

First year SPAD student Dawson Reale is the owner of The Ultimate Collector here in Sudbury. From a young age, Dawson has had a passion for both business and sports. The Sudbury native has been selling sports memorabilia online since 2008. What started as a hobby, has quickly grown into something much bigger. In 2011, he expanded his business into a physical storefront out of his father’s sports shop, Pro-Am Sports Excellence on Barry Downe Road in Sudbury. Authentic, Original and Affordable is his slogan and that is just what The Ultimate Collector offers.

Dawson attended Lockerby Composite School before coming to Laurentian University to study in the Sports Administration Program. SPAD encompasses everything that Dawson is passionate about; sports and business. In high school, he decided to step away from the sidelines, and pursue the business side of the industry.

It’s clear his family has had a huge influence on him. Dawson’s father Dominic Reale is also an avid sports fan, and he is very thankful as he has been instrumental in getting Dawson’s business to where it is today. Both businesses compliment each-other very well; Customers come into Pro-Am Sports Excellence looking for jerseys or other sport related items, and often end up leaving with unique sports memorabilia from Dawson’s part of the shop!


2013Oct 23

@LU_SPAD Internship Profile: Diaries from “Smashville” – Brianne Pankoff – Part 2

Brianne Pankoff, 4th year SPAD student, is currently interning with the Nashville Predators of the NHL. In the highly anticipated part 2 of the “Diaries from Smashville”, Brianne has taken the time to discuss the work she is doing while on internship this fall. Brianne gives us a great idea of what responsibilities interns with NHL franchises have. Here is the interview.


Brianne standing in front of Bridgestone Arena, Home of the Nashville Predators!

Q: What is your official position with the Nashville Predators organization?

 BP: I am one of two Corporate Partnerships Interns . I report to the Senior Account Manager and am on the “service” side of Corporate Partners department. On the service side I also help out with Premium Seating and Suites for concerts.

 Q: What are some of your responsibilities and duties in this position?

 BP: On the service side of Corporate Partnerships we execute all of contractual obligations of the partnerships. This means that while the account executives create the partnerships we carry out the things such as activations, signage, giveaways, etc. that were a part of the contract. In addition to implementing these practices, my biggest role would be tracking and recording everything that we do, so that in our mid and end of year reviews we can present to the partners what elements they paid for, and show them the return on those investments. This includes taking pictures before and during games of EVERYTHING sponsored from the rink boards, to the jumbotron, to fans buying concessions, as well as screenshotting social media mentions, and logging tv, radio, and in-arena advertisements.