It takes more than talented players and great coaching to be successful in Junior A hockey. Championship teams also have talented people who can market the product, forge community partnerships, and put fans in the stands.
The Alexandria Blizzard plans to improve in all three areas thanks to the addition of Grant McGinnis as its director of marketing. He joins the Blizzard from the Southern Minnesota Express of the North American Hockey League.
"This is a great opportunity for the organization," said Chris Canavati, president of the fifth-year franchise. "Grant has been very successful in Southern Minnesota at coming up with terrific promotions that bring excitement and enthusiasm to every game. We felt the time was right to emphasize our commitment to the franchise and the community by bringing someone in who can help the Blizzard get to the next level."
McGinnis has hit the ground running, putting together marketing partnerships, getting to know people in the community, and working with Blizzard coach-GM Brad Willner on front office operations. His responsibilities include corporate and community partnerships, group and season ticket sales and overall marketing and communications for the team.
The native of Winnipeg is no stranger to the world of athletics. He spent five years as beat writer and broadcaster with the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League. McGinnis has owned a successful marketing and communications firm that managed promotions for golf resorts, auto racing teams and sports equipment manufacturers. He also served as director of sales and marketing for World Hockey Association 2, a minor-pro league.
"I have had the good fortune over the past two seasons to get to know Chris and Brad quite well and I have nothing but respect for the way they do things," McGinnis said. "That's why I am here. This franchise is poised for great things and I want to be part of that growth. The success of the Beetles baseball team is a great example of what can be done in Alexandria."
In just two seasons, the Southern Minnesota franchise established high standards on and off the ice, making it to the Robertson Cup finals two years in a row. In addition to its on-ice success, the Express forged a solid reputation for its management and marketing. McGinnis was responsible for marketing, communications and the overall operation of the franchise in Owatonna.
"Grant brings so much to the table," Willner said. "Not only is he a respected marketing professional but he also has real knowledge of the game. He is a tremendous addition to our team."