08
Jan
11

The Sixth Man

Who am I and why should you care?  Well, you don’t really need to care, but you may be interested in who I am.  My name is Ben and I’m 6’4″, 285 lbs.  Hence, the name BigBen.  I live in Buffalo, NY.  Born and raised here.  I’ve played sports most of my life.  I worked in sports for over 10 years.  I’m a student of everything sports.  This is how it all started.

After getting out of college and working in the real world, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I loved sports and I thought I could apply the skills I gained in college to embark on a career doing what I loved.  I knew I had to start at the bottom and I was willing to do whatever to took to get my foot in the door.  Buffalo had just gotten a professional indoor soccer team, the Blizzard.  I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to work and learn for a minor pro sports teams.  It took some perseverance, but I was able to get a job as their game night coordinator.  All I needed was a chance to show what I could do.  I took advantage and more opportunities came my way, including a dream come true.  A chance to work for the Buffalo Sabres.

I love the Sabres.  I grew up watching them and going to the games.  The chance to work for the Sabres came at an extremely unique time.  The City’s main arena, the 16k+ seat Memorial Auditorium was showing it’s age and a new arena was about to be built.  I was the game coordinator for the Sabres and was a part of the closing of the Aud, and the opening of the new arena.  I was also there when the Sabres unveiled their new uniforms (the first time).  As promotions coordinator, I had many tasks.  I was responsible for the execution of all pre-game, in-game and post-game promotional activities.  I got a chance to meet and interact with some of my sports idols.  I met a lot of great people and the opportunities kept coming my way.  A new team, in a new sport came to Buffalo.  The Buffalo Stampede of the Roller Hockey International league.  I was asked to join that team as their Director of Promotions.  The year was 1994.  I was working for 5 different sports organizations at the same time.  The Blizzard, the Sabres, the Buffalo Bandits (indoor lacrosse), Big Four basketball (Div. I) and the Stampede.  I never left the arena and I loved it!!

I also fell in love with the new sport of professional roller hockey.  The newness of the sport gave me a great opportunities to move up quickly.  It also helped when the team won the league championship in it’s first season!  I committed myself to the sport, and over the years, I rose up to become Vice President, General Manager and Head Coach of a new Buffalo professional roller hockey team, the Buffalo Wings.  However, for those of you in the sports business, you know that things are constantly changing.  In order to move up the sports ladder, you have to be willing to relocate.  I had gotten as far as I could in Buffalo, and there were opportunities for me in other areas or the country, but life threw me a curve-ball.  My wife, at the time, was pregnant and soon my son was born.  I made a conscious decision to stay in Buffalo, where my family and my wife’s family was, and be a part of my son’s life.  That didn’t mean sports was over for me.  I started my own sports marketing & consulting firm, focusing on marketing and public relations.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of sports entities including a Busch North race team, a semi-pro woman’s outdoor soccer team and a semi-pro football team.

There’s a lot more I want to do.  Public relations and writing is something I always loved to do and thought I was good at.  My son is getting older and the motivation to get back into sports on a more direct basis is growing stronger within me.  This blog is a way for me to get the sports juices flowing again.  We’ll see where it takes me!

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