Front Office On The Prowl

May 30, 2008

With Game 100 of the 2007-08 season on tap for Sunday, the Playoff Blog felt it was time to give a little shout out to our front office brethren, who get very little recognition, but have also been there every step of the way.


Exhibit A: While the team was busy on the ice Wednesday morning preparing to take on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, representatives from the ticket sales, sponsorship and game operations departments hit the streets to make sure there would be fans there to support them.      


Ten ambassadors from the front office staff spent peak lunch hours dispatched to hot spots throughout the Chicagoland area, ranging from downtown to Naperville, Vernon Hills, Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows and Oak Brook.  The primary goal of these “Street Teams” was to get the word out about the Wolves Calder Cup Finals run and put as many fans into the building as possible.    


Wolves Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Berndt and Executive Director of Ticket Sales Eric Zavilla coordinated the endeavor.  Berndt said he got the idea from his own previous experience working for other organizations.    


“It was something that I’d done before, both with Live Nation and the White Sox.  Lots of sports teams do it,” he said.  “It’s just a way to get out and talk to as many people as possible and just spread the word.  I think we’ve gotten a good response.”     


Sponsorship Sales Executive Ryan McDonald spent the afternoon patrolling Michigan Ave. with Nichole Stanbury, a member of the ticket sales department.    


“We started at Upper Wacker and just worked our way north, handing out flyers and promoting the Calder Cup Finals series, just getting people excited about the Wolves,” McDonald said.  “We handed out hats and t-shirts and got a great response.”    


McDonald said they fielded many questions, ranging from where Wilkes-Barre was, to inquiries about the complimentary pre-game meal.    


“Most people were really positive and excited,” he said.  “Some people told us they already had tickets.  One guy I gave my card to already called today and bought tickets to bring his family out on Sunday.  We just tried to be as upbeat and possible and it as a beautiful day, so there were a lot of people out.”


Ticket Account Executives Stefanie Starck and Maureen Kane trekked up to Lincolnshire where they set up a booth at RiverWalk.  The duo reported a great experience and lots of attention, though they had a significant advantage – they brought the Wolves mascot Skates with them.    


“A bunch of people we met called in and bought tickets today,” Starck said.  “People were pumped up about the fact that we were going to the Championship series.  Maureen was howling at the crowd to get people’s attention, so we had a pretty good response.”     


Though she encountered a couple Wolves fans who weren’t aware the squad was in the Finals, some were very knowledgeable about the team.


“One guy knew all about the mustaches,” Starck said, adding that the t-shirt giveaways made the booth very popular.  “Even if those people don’t make it to the games, they’ll be promoting the team in the gym when they wear the t-shirts.”    


Ticket Account Executive Shannon Sawyer and Sponsorship Sales intern Mike Georgalas were in charge of the downtown Naperville area, where they too donned Wolves jerseys and made the rounds with flyers, car flags and bumper stickers.    


“For the most part, people were pretty cool about it,” Sawyer said.  “Occasionally people would throw the flyer back in your face but most thought it was cool once they heard why we were there.”


One person in particular, was psyched to see the Naperville crew.  


“When we sat down for lunch, our waiter turned out to be one of the paramedics in Rosemont,” Sawyer said.  “He knew the Wolves were in the Finals and he was really excited.”    


A second round of street teams was planned for Friday, but the rainy forecast caused them to be called off.  Should the series extend to a Game 6 back in Chicago, keep your eyes open for members of the front office on the prowl for loyal fans to back their battling team!




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