Meet Jerry Moss…

The Portland Winter Hawks have hired Jerry Moss in the front office with the title of Director of Fan Relations.  I had a chance to sit down with Jerry yesterday and get his thoughts on his new role with the team…here they are:

AK:  First off, Jerry, welcome to the Winter Hawks organization…why don’t you fill the fans in on your background…

JM: Well, I’ve lived in Oregon for the past 25 years and the last 21 years I’ve been in retail – but it has been a wide variety of retail – everything from managing stores to marketing and I’ve also handled the sponsorships of sports teams up and down the West Coast. 

Then I worked for the Portland Trail Blazers for just under 11 years, and I was the director of special events and my skill set and my attitude kept moving me towards fan and community relations and I was the Director of Fan Relations and the Community Outreach Director with the Blazers.  My responsibility was to connect with the fans and community and enhance that relationship.

It is an exciting time for me to be part of this organization.

 

AK:  What do you envision your role being with the Portland Winter Hawks?

JM:   First off, I am a huge, huge fan of hockey, and I hope the fans won’t hold this against me, but I grew up in Seattle and was a fan of the Seattle Totems in the old Western League.  And for those of us old enough to remember, those games with Portland, Seattle and Vancouver were absolutely phenomenal.  There were people who would come to games who were from the East Coast and they were floored by the level of play and the hockey atmospheres in those cities.  That is where my love for hockey comes from.  There is such a rich tradition of hockey in the Northwest and I am excited to be a part of that.

As far as my role with the Winter Hawks – it is multi-faceted and I love it that way.  My main concern will be finding ways to connect with the fans.  If you’re not a member of the booster club, I would highly recommend you join that organization, we’re going to put some effort into growing our relationship – not only our working relationship, but our overall relationship with that group.  They’re the backbone and a main connection to our fan base.

I’m also going to go after schools and try and get in front of young people and try to grow that part of our fan base, because I know that once they see it and get a taste of it – they’ll be hooked.  Simply because hockey is the best sport to see live.

I’m also going to spend a lot of time working with different community organizations like the Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis Clubs in the community.

But, most of all, I’m going to spend a great deal of time at the games, being elbow-to-elbow with our fans making sure that their experience is all that it can be.  There are some great traditions in Portland and I will do what I can to enhance and expand those for the fans of the Portland Winter Hawks.

AK:  Coming from a professional league like the NBA, and moving to the WHL with a smaller profile, what do you see as the challenges when meeting with the community at-large and discussing the Portland Winter Hawks?

JM:  It is a shift, no doubt, and I’ll have to spend some time educating people on the league and the team.  They don’t know about the kids in the uniforms, and once they do know just who is in those uniforms, they will look at it in a totally different light. 

When you’re in the NBA, the players are fairly insulated from the average Joe in the seats.  And, the average Joe in the seats sitting in the 300 level, they are still rabid fans – they love the team and the players – but they just don’t have the personal connection that they would love to have.

With the Winter Hawks situation, there are far fewer barriers to the players on the ice.  In fact, the young men wearing the uniforms love getting to know the fans in the seats.  That is something that is unique and special and it just can’t be matched by the Major Leagues.

AK:  With now two talk sports stations in town – one on the AM dial and one on the FM dial – do you see the Winter Hawks trying to get more of a presence on those talk radio shows?

JM:  I see there are two sides of the fence with these radio talk shows – on the one side, these stations give the fans great local sports coverage, as well as the national sports, which is critical, and on the other side, we can provide them with local sports stories and information on the team and what the Winter Hawks are all about. 

It is a big goal of mine to get the Winter Hawks in their mind set.  I want to be able to take players and coaches with me and let the fans hear what they’re like.  The people at the stations are pros and they know how to get behind the uniform and I think they will be pleasantly surprised by the hockey people in this organization and they will want more.  We have such a high caliber of people in our players and coaching staff, not to mention Ken Hodge, our GM who is so highly regarded in this league.  We should have more of a presence on these stations and I will work hard to make that happen

AK:  When it comes to game night operations, what are some of your thoughts on improving the atmosphere for our fans for home games?

JM:  There are a number of things that we want to do.  First off, you have to remember that this isn’t like a NBA game where maybe the first 50-100 rows are, most likely, corporate seats where it is hard sometimes to get the fan reaction that you want for exciting plays.  You don’t have to worry about that with hockey fans. 

At Winter Hawk games, fans will react when an exciting or amazing play happens and that is fun, and that means passion.  Tapping that passion at games is something that we need to do, and we need to encourage that type of reaction.  So, we are looking at ways that will draw from the passion of the fans.

We know that the players feed off the passion of the fans and the fans feed off the passion of the players.  It is a cycle and one that we want to breed within our organization.  Going to a hockey game is not like going to oral surgery, or to a movie.  You may remember seeing a movie, but won’t remember the fine details two to three years down the road.  Hockey fans remember amazing plays from 20 years ago and enjoy sharing those memories with those around them in the stands.

As we get closer to the season, I want to encourage fans to send their comments and suggestions on how the Winter Hawks can enhance the fan experience at our games to my e-mail address at jerrym@winterhawks.com and I will respond to all of them.  It may not be instantaneous, but I will respond.  I want to know what you think, I want to know your opinions and I want to know you, the fan.

The season is fast approaching and it’s going to be wild.  In fact, I am going to call our home games “Wild Night”.  I can’t wait for the puck to drop…

Welcome to the team, Jerry…

Dietrich Re-signs with Salmon Kings…

Congratulations to former Hawk Jacob Dietrich as he has signed a new deal to remain with the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL.

Here is an article from the Victoria Times Colonist:

http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/sports/story.html?id=b0e16ee2-1193-4ce2-8b27-76b7400bffbe

2008-09 Schedule Released…

At www.winterhawks.com

The Hawks will open at home on Saturday, Sept. 20 against the defending Memorial Cup Champion Spokane Chiefs and then will follow it up the next night at home against the Kelowna Rockets.

The longest road trip will be 8 games in October, while the longest home stand will be 6 games at the end of November/early December.

After a ton of three-in-three weekends in 2007-08, the Hawks will only have five in 2008-09:

Nov 7-9: @ SPO, vs. RD, vs. KAM

Nov 14-16:  vs. PG, vs. TC, @ VAN

Jan 9-11:  @ KEL, @ TC, vs. EVE

Mar 6-8:  @ KAM, @ CWK, vs. EVE

Mar 13-15:  @ SEA, vs. SEA, vs. CWK

And it will be a happy Holiday Season as the team only has one road game in December – 12/27 in Seattle.

Home Games By Day:

Saturday – 13

Friday – 9

Sunday – 7

Wednesday – 3 (including NYE)

Tuesday – 3

Monday – 1 (2:00 start on Presidents Day)

 

The schedule is tentative until around 8/7 and the venue for home games is yet to be determined.

If it’s Wednesday…

It must be time for an update…

Currently, I’m working on writing up a 2008-09 season preview for the Hawks website that should be on the site within the next week or so.  It will highlight some of the names that you will see at the Hawks main training camp coming up at the end of August. 

If you are planning on going to Everett for the Silvertips Preseason Tournament and want to take advantage of the best pricing to see the Hawks play their first three preseason games – you will need to purchase your ticket package through the Everett Silvertips office.

If you order prior to August 8th, you will receive the nine game ticket package for $60/person.  If you wait until after the 8th, the package will run you $75/person. 

The Hawks will play at 3:00 in the afternoon all three days – Friday, Aug 29 vs. Tri City; Saturday, Aug 30 vs. Spokane; Sunday, Aug 31 vs. Seattle – and, if you haven’t been to one before, I would highly recommend it as it is a great chance to see a lot of hockey (nine games in three days) after a long summer.

To order tickets, call the Everett Silvertips office at (425) 252-5100.

Not to be outdone, the Tri City Americans are hosting their annual preseason tournament the following weekend in Kennewick. 

The Hawks will play three games in Tri City as well – Friday, Sep 5 vs. Everett; Saturday, Sep 6 vs. Seattle; Sunday, Sep 7 vs. Tri City – with all games beginning at 2:00 PM.

No ticket information is available yet at the Tri City website at www.amshockey.com.

If you have kids (18 and under) interested in taking part in the Winter Hawks hockey school coming up the week of August 11-15 at Sherwood Ice Arena, go to www.winterhawks.com or www.sherwoodicearena.com and find all the details.  The Hawks coaching staff will be there as well as some of the current players.  Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers and Cody McLeod of the Colorado Avalanche are expected to take part as well.

Also, you can contact Kyle Gustafson directly about this at 503-238-6366 x 24 or kyleg@winterhawks.com.

Thats it for now…

Some Updates…

First off, I realize the frequency of my postings has declined in the past few weeks…I have just hit the summer doldrums, so to speak.  Once we get closer to training camp, the frequency will pick up.

The Team Alberta provincial camp took place last weekend and from the reports that I’ve received, all of the Hawks prospects that attended had a good camp.  Team Alberta will now pick a short list of players that they will monitor through much of the first half of next season before selecting the 11 players that will represent the province at the U17 games.

The two BC players – Keith Hamilton & Taylor Peters – will attend a similar camp in BC next week.

Congratulations to former Hawk Cody McLeod on signing a new one year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.  It should make for some interesting practices with McLeod and former Kamloops Blazers instigator Darcy Tucker running around. 

Guaranteed they won’t be much fun to play against…

Another former Hawk, Josh Olson, will move from one Italian city to another as he has changed teams in Italy – going from AS Renon to HC Bolzano.

I got a report that Riley Boychuk, who appeared in only 5 games as a 16 year old before needing hip surgery last year, is recovering nicely from his surgery and is skating pain-free and will be ready to go once training camp opens in just over a month.

The WHL schedule should be out the first week of August, and I haven’t heard anything about where or when the Hawks will open the 2007-08 season.  Traditionally, the Hawks open on the road, but last year, they opened at home on September 21st.

The only confirmed dates that I have are for the Eastern Swing:

Friday – Oct. 17 @ Brandon

Saturday – Oct. 18 @ Moose Jaw

Tuesday – Oct. 21 @ Prince Albert

Wednesday – Oct. 22 @ Saskatoon

Friday – Oct. 24 @ Regina

Saturday – Oct. 25 @ Swift Current

I can almost feel the bus seat already…

Thats it for now…

Quiet Week…

At least on the Winter Hawks front…

Meanwhile, in the WHL, the Regina Pats are looking for a new Head Coach after Curtis Hunt has decided to leave to become an Assistant to Craig Hartsburg with the Ottawa Senators.  Hunt had been an Assistant to Hartsburg while with Team Canada at the World Junior tournament, so they know each other pretty well.

Will former Winter Hawk, and current Regina Assistant, Terry Perkins get a shot to take the realm of the Pats?  Time will tell, but I would think that he would be a candidate.  Perkins played in 131 games in a Hawk sweater between 1983-85, compiling 68-68-136 in those games.

Other names bantered about includes Dale Derkatch who led the Pats to the WHL Final in 1980-81, only to fall to the Winter Hawks.

In other former Hawks news, one player leaves the NHL while another returns:

Marcel Hossa has left the Phoenix Coyotes and has signed to play in Latvia in 2008-09 for the Dinamo Riga club.  Hossa joined the Coyotes in a trade last season with the Rangers.

Josh Green played last season in Austria for the Red Bulls Salzburg club and has agreed to return to North America after signing a free agent deal with the Anaheim Ducks.  Green was a goal scoring machine in his brief time with the Hawks in 97-98, scoring 26 goals in 26 games, but has never really put up numbers in the NHL, but did get a lot of PK time in Vancouver before heading to Europe.

Also, Garrett Festerling has moved from EV Fussen in Germany to the Hannover Scorprions in the German Elite League.  Festerling was the leading scorer (120 points in 45 games) and MVP of the Oberliga, a lower tier pro league in Germany, last season.

I also wanted to pass along my condolescenses to Regan Bartel, my radio counterpart in Kelowna, after the death of his Mother this past weekend.

Hawks Main Camp Info…

The Portland Winter Hawks have posted information on their main training camp on their website at:

http://www.winterhawks.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1172&Itemid=311

It opens on August 24th and will be split between Moutain View Ice Arena  in Vancouver, WA, and Memorial Coliseum.

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