Careers in Hockey: A collection of resources
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11-11-2008, 10:29 AM
Looks Better In Gold
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: SE Tennessee
This isn't what you're going to want to hear, but you need to hear it all the same. I know the anonymity of the Internet allows anyone to say and pretend to be whomever they choose, so all you can do is trust that what I'm saying is true.
I work in hockey, and have for about three and a half years. Not a terribly long time, to be sure, but long enough to have worked for three clubs in two leagues (yes, including the NHL). The number one thing that I tell anyone who wishes to get into this career is to understand and embrace the fact that you will be married to your job for the rest of your life. You will not work traditional hours, (a 40 hour work week is a distant, distant memory), you will barely make enough money to survive (introductory pay in most leagues is 16k-22k, USD), and, you will work for people who have no business running teams, esp. at the minor league level.
Also, go ahead and throw out the notion that you can/are willing to start working in management or a scout. Unless you're a former pro with a substantial contact network, you're not qualified. What you are qualified to do, however, is sell tickets. This is a daily routine of phone calls and meetings, plus game-night responsibilities that rarely actually include watching the game. You're going to be responsible for putting on the atmosphere/carnival aspect that is modern sports. Making the transition from ticket sales/corporate sales into management/hockey ops is no easy task, but it can be done so long as you stick around in the business long enough to meet the right people. But don't expect that to happen within your first 10-15 years in the business, if ever.
I don't mean to be gloom and doom. Honestly, I don't. But, I can tell you, that if I were going to be hiring for any position within my club, I would actually throw your resume OUT if you had any kind of online sports management training, because that's not this business, and it shows me that you're idealistic and don't really "get it." A sports management major needs to know that ticket sales is how he/she is going to make a living for him/herself, unless you can break in to PR (where I work), and even then you still have substantial sales responsibilities.
Look, it can be a lot of fun. There's a rush of excitement as the season starts, and you get to meet a lot of people and provide them with entertainment. It's a lot of fun for me to see small children at my games and know that I've helped make a hockey fan for life. But I question myself on a daily basis if it's worth it or not. If you're not absolutely in love with what you're doing, and willing to sacrifice everything else in your life for it, you will not succeed in sports. I know people who have lost marriages, fiancees, savings, and all sorts of relationships so that they can work in this business.
If you want it, go for it. I recommend working game nights for a team for free, and getting your foot in the door that way. Please PM me if there is anything that I could do for you.
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