Thursday, 25 August 2011

Meet New President Don Clark

So who is Don Clark you ask?

Well, I had a chance to speak to the newly-elected Hurricanes President this week to ask a few questions about his mandate and future outlook for the organization. Maybe a bit of background on Don first. He's 53 years old and has lived in southern Alberta for the last 23 years. Don is a local Chartered Accountant and has been involved in a number of for and non-for-profit boards over the last 30 years.

Don believes the role of the Hurricanes Board of Directors is to support the management of the organization and provide assistance where it can in terms of fund raising efforts, community involvement, and team outreach initiatives.

The following is a little Q & A session I had with Don this week.

Pat: Don, what is your mandate as they new President of the Lethbridge Hurricanes?

Clark: "Well, these are certainly big shoes to fill. Over the last few years Brian (McNaughton) and the Board have worked hard to put a plan together with not only the on-ice product, but with Jim (Bradley) and the marketing that he's done. We're excited about the opportunity to engage the community in plans that we have. Our mandate is to stick the course and to work hard to earn the right to our customers' money and have them come back to the games."

Pat: Don, why did you run for President and why did you want this gig? Essentially, you are now the spokesman for the entire organization.

Clark: "I joined the Board for two reasons. One, because I believe in it and two, because I think I can contribute something. This is not about me in any stretch of the imagination, but rather it's about working with those other 14 people (on the Board) and all the staff who can contribute to making this a real good thing in this community and southern Alberta."

Pat: What can Don Clark do to make a difference within the organization?

Clark: "I think what we can do as a group is we can work together, not just as a Board or management team, but effectively with the media and the community to strengthen our position as an entertainment opportunity for customers. That's what we're all hoping to do. It's all of us rowing in the same direction. That's what we want to do in this community and for the team."

Pat: Do you plan on doing things differently and do you have a different style?

Clark: "I think everyone brings their own style and I think as we work with management and with the rest of the Board that'll all come into play. Our plans are to work cooperatively, not only with the team, but to also get out in the community and to get a little more engaged in our own ways so that we can learn about what people's needs are and adapt to that market place."


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  1. The new President has less hockey experience the MacNaughton? That's scarey! (

    Maybe more scarey is that he spoke like a true politician......asked several straight-forward questions, but gave several vague answers.

    Does anyone know if Mr. Clark has ANY hockey experience??

  2. I have never met Don, but I don't think that it is critical that the president of a community owned WHL team board has "hockey experience." - That is why they hire a GM and coaching staff. The BOARD isn't running the power play, they just have to be interested in the books and in the business, and have good people and business skills. I think I would prefer that the head coach and GM had "Accounting experience."

    Accountants consider a broader picture when they make decisions, and I am encouraged that Don has this distinction. - Richie

  3. I do not think it is the end all be all to have hockey experience. But I do think it is important. As long as you let the hockey people make the hockey decisions and don't tell Preston he needs to discuss every trade with you. And if you want to be a legit entertainment option, lower ticket prices. The prices are way to expensive. 20$ a ticket? That's a joke. I don't want to hear "well parking is free so it evens out" that's an excuse. Over half te teams have free parking.

  4. I completely disagree. While I don't think experience with the President is essential, I think he needs to have SOME hockey experience. Having been involved in running an organization or a league would be an added advantage. This would ensure the GM/Coach is doing his job correctly (because we have a GM/Coach who has limited experience also).

    As for the price of tickets.....I agree that the prices are too high when comparing to other forms of entertainment. University and high school sports (which are the other competition for the Hurricanes with similiar aged athletes) are far cheaper to attend and I attend them regularly. I can pay $10 and watch a weekend of sports (basketball/volleyball) at a high school tourney.

    The problem is that the Board of Directors and Business Manager only want to compare their prices with those in Med. Hat and Red Deer. I fail to understand what those team's prices have to do with ours??? Am I going to drive to Med. Hat to watch a Tiger's game?? No. So, why would they use them as a ticket comparison when that isn't their main competition?? Their competition is IN LETHBRIDGE. Doesn't make sense to me.

  5. I agree with you that they can't compare prices to med hat and red deer. But they have to find a happy medium. 15$ is reasonable, they can't be as cheap as high school sports. High school sports are a joke compared to the hurricanes, yes the kids are the same age but they pale in comparison. This league has kids getting drafted into the best hockey world in the league. Is 20$ to expensive? Yes. But 10$ is far to cheap. I can see 10$ a ticket for students.

  6. High school sports is NOT a joke my friend. The only joke is the Hurricane faithful (like yourself) who think any of these players will make an NHL roster. We're not talking about the Vancouver Giants or the Calgary Hitmen here. We're talking about a team who won 23 games out of 72. You used the phrase "this league has kids getting drafted into the best hockey league in the world." Really? Who? Specifically, which Hurricane was drafted into the best hockey league in the world?? Are you going to say Brody Sutter?

    That's not what I said in my original article. Once again, you're comparing the Hurricanes to other teams. WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT OTHER TEAMS. We're talking about a poorly run franchise who is over-charging for their product compared to other forms of entertainment IN LETHBRIDGE.

    You think $20 is a good amount to pay?? You're obviously in the minority as most people chose cheaper, more economically feasible entertainment. The empty seats should tell you all you need to know.

    You obviously missed my point when I said that I pay $10 to watch a WEEKEND of high school sports, not just 3-4 hours of a team getting their asses handed to them.

    Last year, I walked into the high school volleyball finals, no charge. How is that a joke??? It was a high level of volleyball being played 10 feet in front of me.

    There's not one player from last year's roster that is going to make ANY significant impact in the NHL, so let's get rid of your idea that there are players on this team drafted into the "best league in the world". The fact is, only ONE of the Hurricanes was drafted last year....ONE. And that was a 7th Round selection (Sutter). Not exactly an over-whelming player.

    So, go ahead and keep throwing your money at this thing. I'm not going to stop ya.

  7. Keep going to volleyball, JUSTWINBABY. I don't think that my seasons tickets have cost more than $14/seat per game, and I look forward to another year and am happy to pay it. With the big screen this year, it will be a fun experience. "Fans" like you, the Canes can do without. You might want to rethink going to games in the Hat. You would fit right in, there. Don't forget to boo the home team.

  8. Justwinbaby.... I hope you enjoy watchin your high school sports. Enjoy watching volleyball.... Ya... Volleyball. Sutter and Fyten have just as good of a chance to make the NHL as anyone picked outside of the 1st round. Will they be impact players? Who knows, these kids are 19 years ol and had a point per game in the WHL. What did your volleyball players do? Have fun?

  9. How is a person supposed to respond to multiple posts when nobody want so take the time to use a name or handle?????

  10. @Anonymous #1 comment.......I agree that the season's ticket this year is a much more reasonable price than in previous years. I'm not sure how long the 25% off price will be in effect however. But ya, the season ticket package is MUCH more feasible than a walk-up ticket. It's the walk-up ticket that I was referring to as I can't go to many game due to my job commitments.

  11. @Anonymous #2:

    Do you realize how offensive your comments are to high school athletes?? In effect, Hurricane players are also high school athletes.

    As a teacher, I thinks it's sad you don't hold high school players in higher regard. Obviously you're unaware that there are several southern Alberta football players playing in U.S. colleges, Canadian universities AND in NFL and CFL. (One example, Dylan Steenbergen was a Winston Churchill High/U of Calgary grad who was just traded from the Alouettes to the Esks). There are many, many examples. They don't get the same credit hockey players do for some reason, but are just as legit in their own sports as ANY hockey player.

    I didn't expect you to know that since you don't follow any other sports other than hockey.

    Are you kidding me about Sutter and Fyten???? I thought you watched the games????