2010Nov 16

More from Matt the Canadian Intern: Dawn of a New Era

By Matt Medaglia, 4th year SPAD student

The Dawn of a New Era

Ceremonial Face Off

Charlotte, NC – October 15, 2010, the Charlotte Checkers hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their inaugural home opener in the American Hockey League. Leading up to the event, it was easy to see the stress and chaos overcoming those in the office, including myself; you only get one shot at this – don’t mess it up. There were 12,512 (capacity is 14,100) spectators in the Time Warner Cable arena, where we are secondary tenants to the Charlotte Bobcats. The opening face-off was a treat, Michael Kahn (Checkers owner) along with Rod Brind’amour, Jim Rutherford (Hurricanes owner), and David Andrews (AHL commissioner) were on-hand to kick-off hockey in Charlotte.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to experience and witness the transition from the East Coast Hockey League to the American Hockey League. Opening night was a successful one and was a testament to how hard the front office of the organization has worked to make the transition as seamless as possible.

During my first four months here I was able to learn about the scope of many different aspects of the business. My duties ranged from corporate partnerships to sales and marketing. An important component of the transition was creating awareness about our new players and the different style of hockey that should be expected by Checkers’ fans. Given the region that I am in, south-east America, the excitement and hockey knowledge is very different in comparison to what most of us are used to. Essentially, they are not crazed hockey maniacs like we are in Canada. Hockey is essentially the fourth sport, after football, NASCAR, basketball in Charlotte. The work-load was very relaxed so I was able to maximize my learning and experiences by attending meetings, asking questions and having the opportunity to work in all departments.

Charlotte Checkers Game Time!

In September I began my second internship which focused primarily on public and media relations. It was a much different atmosphere come September around the city. The excitement started to build, both within the office and throughout the city. So much so, that there were so many new things that needed to be implemented that I found myself working longer hours just to ensure that we stayed on track for the season. My first major project was producing our media guide, which may have been the most tedious of all tasks. I have also had the opportunity to write media releases, aid our media partners in producing spots for local news stations, and produce game reports.

Although I am not being paid during my eight month tenure here in Charlotte, the experience that I have gained is invaluable. There is only so much that you can learn in a classroom setting. The internship experience has provided me with the skills and on-site knowledge that I will be able to use in all my future jobs and endeavors in the business world.I would recommend to all prospective interns not to turn down any opportunities that would take you out of your comfort zone. I moved to Charlotte not knowing what to expect and a long way from my family and friends. This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I owe it to the SPAD program, as well as our SPAD Alumni network. None of this would have been possible without the great people around us.

Charlotte Checkers PreGame

Leave a Reply