Mr. President/Minor Developments - Abbott
Jeff Moeller - special to LAKings.com
This week LAKings.com catches up with Darren Abbott, the President of the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
Abbott joined the Monarchs in February of 2010 after holding the position of President for the 2008-09 Kelly Cup champion South Carolina Stingrays for four seasons (2006-10). Abbott was the recipient of the ECHL Executive of the Year for the 2007-08 season after being a finalist for the award following the 2006-07 season.
A native of Canton, New York, he graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and History in 1991. Abbott – you can follow him on Twitter @DarrenAbbott1 -- recently answered the following questions from LAKings.com:
Q: Can you talk about your current job responsibilities?
A: I oversee the business operations of the Manchester Monarchs. Including but not limited to ticket sales, marketing, sponsorship sales, merchandise, community outreach and public relations. In order to run efficiently and successfully, we have a staff of 20 full time employees in our business office.
Q: No two days are the same…but can you try and describe a typical day at the office?
A: I wish there was such a thing as a typical day in the office. The truth is that in our business, there are a lot of moving parts which make each day unique. The biggest challenge day to day is to make sure everyone involved is moving in the same direction and that we are all working from the same play book. We try to develop people both on and off the ice. Because of this, it is important to train How and teach Why as much as possible. Like an AHL Coach, it is a feather in my cap when members of my staff advance to the Major Leagues or advance their career beyond our team.
Q: What is your role in the arena during a home game?
A: During a game, I try to be visible to our fans as much as possible. Most games we try to entertain corporate sponsors and stakeholders in our suite at the Verizon Wireless Arena. I am a hockey fan, so when the puck is in play I usually have my eyes on the ice. During intermissions I walk the concourse and visit.
Q: What helped prepare you for your current position?
A: I was a Radio Broadcaster and PR Director for many years in the ECHL, mostly in Charleston, South Carolina. Eventually I worked my way into the Presidents Office for my final three years there. I would say what prepared me the most for the challenges of this position has been interaction with other professionals in sports marketing and sales. I am a big believer in the pursuit of best practices, so I have constantly networked and shared with team operators and league personnel that do things well.
Q: Who have been some of your mentors to date?
A: One of my owners in South Carolina was a self made billionaire named Jerry Zucker. He saw something in me and gave me a chance. Unfortunately we lost Mr. Z to brain cancer much too early, but my short time with him helped me immensely. Although he could be intimidating, he was fascinating to talk to. Among other things, he believed in working hard, putting your family first and giving back to the community.
Q: What is the best advice you could give somebody who wants to work in the sports industry?
A: I always advise people looking to get into sports to get their feet wet early and often. Take advantage of internships and volunteer at events to build your resume. Once you get a foot in the door, kick it down by networking, working hard and treating people right. Sometimes working in sports can be challenging, but most of us can’t imagine doing anything else. It keeps you young!
Learn more about Darren Abbott and the Manchester Monarchs by visiting Monarchshockey.com.
Check back to LAKings.com later this week when we continue our popular ‘Minor Developments’ series on Thursday and hear from Ontario Reign (ECHL) president Justin Kemp. Also, on Wednesday, Monarchs broadcaster Ken Cail will give us his take on some of the Kings’ prospects currently playing in New Hampshire.