2013Oct 2

@LU_SPAD Internship Profile: Connor Stevens – Media Relations Intern

Fourth year SPAD student Connor Stevens is currently completing his internship with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. Connor is working as a Media Relations Intern with the Leafs, one of the most storied franchises in the NHL. We are grateful that Connor has taken some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

photo 1Q: What is it like to be working for the Leafs, one of the biggest sports organizations in the world? What is your experience in hockey? Were you a Leafs fan growing up?

CS: Although it’s only been a few weeks, working as a Media Relations Intern for the Toronto Maple Leafs has been nothing short of an amazing experience. With such a historic franchise, in a hockey crazed city, there is not a day that is the same as the next. My experience in hockey goes as far as when I was a young kid. I grew up playing rep hockey locally in my hometown of Stouffville, Ontario. I currently just play for a beer league team in the summer with all my friends back home and I try to get out as much as possible while up in Sudbury. I have been a lifelong fan of the game and specifically the National Hockey League. I grew up bleeding blue and continue to do so to this day. GO LEAFS GO. 

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

CS: As apart of the media relations team, our job is to build and maintain a relationship between the Toronto media and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Managing radio, print and television interview requests with certain players, coaches and executives with the media are a big part of the everyday duties. On top of that, preparing press releases and arranging stats, game notes and press conferences relate to the everyday duties of the department. During the summer months and leading up to the start of the regular season, the media relations department is required to develop a training camp guide along with a media guide. This has plenty of information that is beneficial to the media such as; up to date player statistics, milestones and records, the history of the team, alumni of the team and a team directory to name a few. Being aware of what is being discussed about the Toronto Maple Leafs throughout the various media outlets is also very important. I can say that the application “tweet deck” is used the entire day to ensure that nothing said by the media gets unnoticed on twitter. Reading the newspaper and listening to sports talk radio on the commute is also a beneficial tool the media relations team uses to stay up to date with everything related to the team. The media relations department also helps out with the hockey operations side when needed. As previously mentioned, on any given day something different may occur that requires our Media Relations department to act accordingly. However there are various general everyday duties that I need to complete. Every morning, I go through the four (4) main Toronto newspapers (The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post) and cut out any article written about the Leafs. Once completed, I put all the articles into a single document and distribute them to team management and coaches. On game days, the day starts early in the morning with the “media clips” followed by the preparation of the press box for the game that evening. Printing game notes, full NHL statistics, and other important information that may be useful to the media takes up a big part of the day. Around mid afternoon, I head down to the main floor where the media and scouts enter the Air Canada Centre. It is here that I ensure all media and scouts have the required credentials to enter the press box and watch the game.

Q: It must be exciting to get to work with such a storied franchise, is there a sense of pride that comes with working for such a historic team.

CS: Hands down there is. The Toronto Maple Leafs organization makes everyone feel valued. They make you feel just as much part of the “team” as anyone else. It makes you feel proud when the team gets on the ice and you hear a sold out ACC scream for the Blue and White. Working for one of the most well known sport franchises in the world is certainly a privilege, and I am extremely thankful for my opportunity.

Q: What specifics can you give to current and incoming SPAD students about what you learned in the classroom that has directly related to your internship?

CS: Being a Media Relations Intern, one specific class that relates to my position is the third year Sport Media class. Working in media relations is a tough job (especially in Toronto). You have to maintain a happy and healthy relationship between the media and the team. Ensuring various media outlets don’t receive information before other ones.

“There is no such thing as generating publicity in this job…it’s more managing the publicity”

             Pat Park – (Director, Media Relations)

Speaking about working in the Media Relations department for the Toronto Maple Leafs

In my position, being up close with the hockey operations side of the team and being privileged enough to attend the home games is a bonus. But that should never take away from fulfilling your job. You have to remain professional. Obviously in SPAD, being a professional is a huge learning experience the program offers. From sending e-mails, to dressing in business attire for presentations, it all prepares you for the real world. 

Q: Although it is early in your internship, what has been your favorite or most memorable moment so far?

CS: My most memorable moment so far was on Media Day (the first day of training camp) when I had to interview a number of players photo 3for the media guide. It was an awesome experience to get to know some things about the players and find out how they really are outside of hockey. 

Q: What are your plans once you internship has finished? Has the internship given you any foresight  into what you would like to do after graduation?

CS: My initial plans once my internship is finished are to head back up to the “Big Nickel” and finish my SPAD degree. I look forward to spending my last four months with all my friends I have made while being apart of this great program. I have our field trip to Chicago marked down as a shoe-in for an exciting experience and of course graduating in April. Once the summer rolls around, I will begin looking for full-time work related to the sports industry and specifically hockey. This internship has definitely begun to help me narrow my decision of where I want to work in the sports industry and I look forward to the next three months here with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

We would like to thank Connor for taking the time to speak to us about his current internship. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our current/perspective students to hear about some of the internships available to SPAD students.






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