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Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Red Wings’

The NHL lockout will be over soon and I have mixed emotions about it.  I am an arena staff worker who dreamed of working for the NHL one day, preferably the Detroit Red Wings full time in marketing/social media.  The collateral damage this lockout has done is too much to ignore.

How can you alienate 100,000+ fans plus sponsors for a big event like the Winter Classic?  How does this affect the NHL and how do they just ignore what they have done to the industry they love?

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When this is said and done, how is the NHL going to recover as a brand?  Your best employees are your biggest cheerleaders and largest assets you have in a business.  But when you ignore them, trim down their hours and if they live based on a commission, how are they supposed be to happy?

The little people struggled, the everyday Joe’s who depend on this job for a living.  They chose to go into sports knowing there is long hours with little pay.  They do this for the love of the game, but when the game doesn’t respect you or give you a reason to stand by them.  Is it enough?

Business partners have been burned and from the looks of it Kraft might have backed out of their sponsorship in Canada. To most Americans who don’t get CBC and Hockey Night in Canada they might see this as a small thing.  The truth is Kraft brought together old rickety ice rinks and gave them funding to the community who deserved it the most by voting.  I wish Americans could have had this kind of promotion.  The kids in the community benefited by having their hockey heroes come and play a pre-season game there, they got funding to fix the rink, and the community got recognized nationally.  It just hurts me to see this go by way side because the league burned the bridge.  Kraft Hockeyville was one of the things I looked forward to seeing during Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.

Leadership has to change for change to really happen in the NHL.  If every eight to ten years there will be a work stoppage will the full time employees and some of the part time staffers look for other places to work?  I love the game and I had a different view of this lockout which was really frustrating me.

The brand is damaged and I am sure sponsors and television networks are just as frustrated as the fans.  They should have been working this hard months ago before the Winter Classic was trashed for the year.   You have a product where there is a large chain of businesses that depend on your product to survive.    It is when you think of them and solve the problem before it gets to this huge level that you have a better understanding.

If employees have suffered and they are your greatest brand ambassadors, die hard fans are ticked, then who will bring your brand back from the dead?

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Steve Yzerman is the adoptive son of Detroit and he took a position as the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in May of 2010.  After 23 years as a Detroit Red Wing and four years as an apprentice to General Manager Ken Holland.   Stevie learned the ropes of the National Hockey League from the business stand point and took his team to one win from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.

There are quite a few things from a business stand point we can learn from Stevie.

1. Do not burn bridges

Stevie will always be remembered as a Red Wing.  He signed my puck at the team practice in Troy and even used his number 19 on it.  He will always be a member of the Red Wings family no matter how far he travels or whose team he is employed by.  He is adopted by the city of Detroit and by the Red Wings family for bringing hockey back and using his perseverance to win three Stanley Cups and be in the office for the fourth.  He has not burned bridges but he still has the connections he once had and probably uses them.  Just because you leave an employer that you have been with forever does not mean you lose the connections you once had.

2. Surround yourself with people who can help you

Stevie won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.  Canada, his  native country put him in a very pressure packed situation.  He had taken the time to surround himself with A players so his team can have success down the road.  I am pretty sure the Red Wings believe in this philosophy and this is how it was passed along to him.  He did not graduate from high school yet he has a Masters degree in the NHL.  You learn from the best and you can have long term goals.  He sees the future and I am pretty sure he believes this philosophy.

3. You can always come home

Detroit will always be home for Stevie Y.  He has done the right things for this city and always kept the windows of opportunity to success open.  Mike Illitch will probably always think of him as an adoptive son since he has been through every phase of hockey with the Red Wings.  He speaks highly of the Detroit area and has had many life experiences here.  So when his paths cross again or maybe not with Detroit he knows he can always come home because people will always respect him.  He never brought a scandal to Detroit but he brought grit,  determination and was a quiet leader.  He is doing the same thing with Tampa Bay and seems to be just as loyal.

This video is a really great  because it shows what he has learned about the business, his team, what he hopes to accomplish and everything great  Steve Yzerman brings to the table.


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Starting from my early days using message boards and social networks I guess I have been a bit of a rebel. My first experience came from Red Wings World. It is a pay fan site, in support of the Detroit Red Wings, and when their was moderation and the site worked well. I was constantly getting into trouble for posting links to stories. Now I post some stories but I always give the link. I wrote for my high school newspaper so I have always given credit where credit is due.

Well I would get into trouble for sharing too many stories and posting the entire story with out the link. Even though I gave them the credit and I was NOT claiming any of it as my own. That was my early days, now I don’t tend to share as many stories on Red Wings World but I tend to use Facebook and have a connection with most of my Red Wings World friends on there.

Since Red Wings World has been going down hill and the fan base has dwindled because of lack of updates, nothing special for your money, and the home page is still showing Hossa as a Penguin from last season. The community has dwindled and it is a shame because in its heyday (2002-2005) the community did a lot for the community and for people that needed help during the Christmas season, had a hockey game fundraiser, and annual parties.

I digress.


This leads me to TODAY. I have been networking to try and find a career. So this brings me to Linked In. I joined groups and then tried adding people that I thought would be of help to me. When I did this they would say they wouldn’t know me. So then I would have to know their email address to add them. I realize that when the basis of Linked In is to connect you with people that you know. Often times it is the people that you don’t know that can find you work and make you the rock star that you want to be. You have to dig around and try and connect with people in order to find work. IF you limited yourself to only people that you know. Then your scope would be small. I am NOT abusing this function because if you are in the same group as me I am sure that you have common interest and could be of some help to me in the future. After all, givers gain, right?

This also leads me to my ban from Facebook. I have been banned 2.5 times. You ask why the half time. It was a mistake because they never gave me any kind of warning and I didn’t know what the deal was. The first and third time they banned me was for linking too many stories. The Third time a friend of mine made a comment that I should create my own news feed because I am like a drudge report. I told her that Social Median already does that.

The third time they banned me for sharing a group in an email to a few friends. They still never tell you the amount that you have and what is considered SPAM. I don’t want to be too much of a news feed but I can see what the problem is. At the same time, on twitter, you can share a thousand stories and there isn’t rules against it.

I am not trying to abuse any rules. I just seem to push the limit to what you can and can’t do in the Social Media Realm. What do you think? Am I a pest or an outlaw?

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The Red Wings usually have the traditional New Year’s Eve game. It has happened as long as I can remember. I started going to Cheli’s Chili shortly after it opened downtown after working the game. It was a fun tradition but since the NHL is trying to create a new tradition sometimes we have to adapt to change. We will see the Red Wings play the BlackHawks at Wrigley Field instead on January 1, 2009. This Winter Classic II is an outdoor game that started a few years back and the idea is a great one. The idea of playing a sport outdoors for thousands of people where the game originated is appreciated. Though, the NYE game will be missing this year, this new tradition and being able to share this with the entire region is something special. The first Winter Classic was played between the Buffalo Sabers and the Pittsburgh Penguins on a snowy day on Jan 1, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. It was blizzard conditions and there was some ice problems but it was still worth having the game. This was the first game on USA soil the Heritage Classic on November 22, 2003 and was between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadians at CommonWealth Stadium.

Wings get ready to take on the Hawks for a PRE Winter Classic collision!

Wings get ready to take on the Hawks for a PRE Winter Classic collision!

Nothing in life is ever constant. You can not go through life with one complete tradition. Life events usually change things for people. My Mom passed away July 3, 2007 and that first Christmas with her gone was a rough one. My Dad, Aunt, and I went to the Bone Yard for Christmas. I picture the holidays as a day spent with friends and family not spent at a restaurant.

This year I am cooking dinner. My house has never held a party, and I have never thrown one. So this should be interesting. I feel traditions can change but sometimes you have to keep the spirit of the family and the home cooked part of the holiday. That is the best part of the holiday and when you lose that part.

Every tradition can be tweaked and changed for a year or so but as long as things can go back to somewhat the way they were for a day it is great to keep the spirit. As we get older, it is less about what we receive but what we can give to one another, these hard times that we are experiencing should be a lesson that our family and friends should be appreciated and not taken for granted.

So keep the tradition’s alive and remember that things can change for a year but you can you can also create new memories. Nothing ever comes easy and everything that is worth having is worth doing. So keep that in mind during the holiday season. It isn’t what you get but what you can give to other people that matters.

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Everyone in life needs a mentor.  The path in which they come in and out of our lives is a journey that can be short or long.  Scotty Bowman was with the Red Wings since 1993 and he has always been in the shadows to help every coach after him if they needed some guidance.  Every year until this year when he decided to leave for Chicago.  His Son, Stan that is an Assistant GM, is documented for having cancer, so he went to be with his family and to help grow the franchise that has a long suffering tradition.

Scotty was a Coach and Mentor for the Detroit Red Wings since 1993!

Scotty was a Coach and Mentor for the Detroit Red Wings since 1993!

With the training wheels off it seems like the Red Wings have lost their drive and lack the urgency to get things done and they are NOT acting like the team that had won the Cup last year.  Some say that it is the well documented Cup Hangover that most Cup winning teams suffer.   Which I do agree could partly true but I also think the Bowman factor could be another factor that is not  well documented.  They also are not acting like  a TEAM.  Where did the TEAM go?  That is a mystery that we are waiting to find out.

When you have a well established coach that has been with the team in some for since 1993.  Some of the members of the team were coached by him, and Coach Mike Babcock, used to have talks with him everyday or almost everyday and then he is gone.  You lack the person from the other side that sees the ice and how you document things differently then from someone that is inside the organization.

I think these slow starts might be a combination of two things.  Todd McLellan leaving and Scotty Bowman not  being in the shadow.  When the training wheels get taken off and you have to go solo that has to have some kind of trickle down effect on the team that has been used to him being in the shadows for so long.

What do you do when your mentor decides that it is time to take a different path?  Do you have the confidence to pull things out or do you change your way of thinking?  These things can be applied to life and NOT just the Red Wings.

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