Continuing our summer series of checking in with various members of the Admirals family, today we’re proud to present some Q&A with El Presidente himself, Mr. Jon Greenberg.
Read on to find out some of his highlights from last season, how he has spent his summer vacation, and a bobblehead giveaway that you should expect in November.
AR: Going back to the way last season ended……As someone who is so personally and professionally invested in the team on a daily basis, are your highs extra high and your lows extra low? I imagine there were plenty of both over the last three weeks of the season.
JG: I learned very early on in my career in sports which will enter year 29 that you have to be even keel. I certainly enjoy each and every game but I know that there will always be a next one. These are long seasons so you get yourself on an emotional roller coaster when you work for a team. It’s certainly fine when you are a fan and I love the passion of our fans who live on the edge of their seats with our games. Even when we got knocked out of the playoffs, while disappointing, it just meant that it was time to start planning the upcoming season. All of that being said, I would love to have the feeling of winning a championship. That would certainly be a high worth celebrating!
AR: I’m sure everyone will remember the all-hands-on-deck brawl of April Fools Day 2012. What are some other events from the season that stand out for you as you look back on it, either on or off the ice?
JG: The sellout crowd on January 27 was a major highlight for me. It was a magical and memorable night and one we hope to duplicate this season. Having a coaching change with a successful team was a first for me. When Kirk left after 17 games, it certainly caught me off-guard.
Being able to watch the development of our players over the last month of the season when we had to push to get into the playoffs was a lot of fun. Finally, just being able watch this business grow with our largest average attendance in a decade was a very rewarding.
AR: So the season ended. Players went home. Coaches went home. Fans shifted to baseball. And you got to go to league meetings. Tell us a little bit about your travels so far this summer – what are the different meetings for, and is there anything specific you were able to get out of them?
JG: The season ended in April and then we had a quarterly AHL Board of Governors meeting in May in Chicago. That was just a one-day meeting where we discussed some divisional realignment. We were able to get Grand Rapids in our division which geographically is great. I’ve always enjoyed our games with the Griffins. In mid-June, we had our league’s Annual Meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina. That’s five days of
meetings both as a full board and on specific committees. I represent the Admirals as a member of the league Sales and Marketing committee. In the general session we get to hear a lot of presentations from different partners of the league as well as vote on league rules and by-laws. We play a lot of golf and get to spend quality time with folks from other
teams as well as some of the NHL people who are at the meetings.
Then, right after the 4th of July I was off to Rochester, New York for four days of AHL Marketing meetings with four members of our staff. We are able to share lots of great ideas and learn some new things that are going on around the league. There is also a vendor showcase so we can see the latest in promotional ideas. I think we get a lot out of that
meeting and we have some fun too.
AR: If a new collective bargaining agreement does not get worked out at the NHL level, how would that affect things at the AHL level at the start of this season?
JG: It doesn’t affect us a ton. We will still be playing our regular schedule. The home opener is Friday, October 19. We, along with the other 29 teams, may have a few NHL players on our teams as players with a certain contract status can still be sent to us to play. This same thing happened for the 2004-05 season. So, we might see a few guys that we wouldn’t have expected to see but other than that it doesn’t affect us other than we will be the best league playing until they come back.
AR: What were your first impressions of Coach Evason?
JG: I have enjoyed my interactions with Dean. He is a pretty funny guy and fun to be around. I can see the intensity that he will bring though. I think he’s going to be a fantastic addition to the Admirals family.
AR: What kind or presence will the Admirals have at Wisconsin State Fair this year?
JG: We will be prominent as always at the State Fair. We will have our booth in the Expo Hall where you can come shoot pucks, learn more about season tickets, pick up some Admirals gear and talk some hockey with our staff. We are also proud to join Saz’s in presenting the Famous Racing Pigs again this year. Those shows are a lot of fun and, of course, Roscoe will be appearing in the State Fair parade every day. I encourage fans to wear the 2012 version of the Get Caught shirt on the grounds. If we see you , you can get a free ticket to a 2012-13 game.
AR: The scheduler was fairly kind last year, with a very high percentage of home games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. As the schedule gets worked out this summer, are you hopeful that you’ll get a similar amount of games on those prime days? Anything you are at liberty to share about the schedule-making process in general?
JG: I am hopeful that we can get a schedule that looks a lot like last year’s. The schedule plays such a vital role in our success. Last year’s schedule allowed us to accomplish a lot from a business standpoint. We are one of five teams in the league who shares a building with an NBA team so we have to wait for them to get their schedule out. (Editors note: Jon responded to these questions shortly before the NBA schedule did come out) I know that the folks in the league in the AHL office are feverishly working to get it done. We are as anxious to get it out as our fans are to see it.
AR: You speak to the audience on mic at games several times a year. Do you get nervous before they open your mic, or did you get over any public speaking fears a long time ago?
JG: I took public speaking courses in college and have done so many radio and television interviews over the years that it doesn’t really affect me at all. The hardest part is always making sure to get all of the material in during the allotted time without a script. I hate to leave something out that I want to share but I also can’t hold up the game.
AR: Are there any new promotions or giveaways or jersey themes or plans or concerts for the new season that you can (wink wink) leak some information about at this time?
JG: We have five guaranteed dates from the league that I can share. Obviously there’s the home opener on Friday, October 19. We’ll also be home on Friday, November 2 and it will be WisPolitics.com Decision 2012 Night as fans will be able to get either a Barack Obama or Mitt Romney bobblehead thanks to Robert Haack Jewelers. There will be 2,500 of each and fans will declare which they want. It will be a highly scientific straw poll.
Also, we’ll be home on three other Fridays, November 30, December 28 and January 25. We’re planning big things for all of those so fans should get their season tickets and group tickets NOW! I wouldn’t wait another second.
AR: One last question….what’s your favorite place to golf in the greater Milwaukee metropolitan area?
JG: Anywhere that’s free! Just kidding. I enjoy all of the courses here. We have so many wonderful golf courses here, most of which are too good/nice for my skill level. Golf has taught me patience and humility.
Many thanks to Greeny for this thoughtful responses and his time.