February 01, 2011
My family and a bunch of friends got to hang out with the world’s greatest hockey players all weekend in Raleigh, N.C. at the NHL All-Star weekend. They had some big-time bands too like 3 Doors Down, but the biggest kick was seeing my son Spencer get to hang out with some of his heroes.
When the city of Raleigh bid on the NHL All-Star game, they discovered a problem. And it was my problem too, because the dates they needed to host it coincided with National Agents Alliance’s National Convention in some of the same venues in downtown Raleigh.
So, I had this dilemma of moving our convention, even though we had the contracts all signed and everything, plus our company would have to make all these changes to our schedule. But, if I did that I was going to make Spencer a happy man, I was going to make the Hurricanes players and front office happy and the NHL happy too.
I knew how big this event could be for Raleigh because two years ago Spencer and I went to the NHL All-Star game in Montreal, Canada. You just don’t take events like this for granted. It can really change the attitudes of what people from outside the area think about your city, region and state. It’s that big.
The city of Raleigh reached out to me and I had to talk to Mayor Charles Meeker’s people about it and I decided we needed to have the NHL All-Star game in Raleigh. I just had one request … get me some good tickets. So they agreed to it and it all led to a great weekend for friends and family.
The NHL hooked Spencer and I up so we could go to the players’ fantasy draft, which was a new wrinkle they added this year. He got to get a bunch of pictures taken with players and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, which was cool since we hope Spencer will get to take another picture with him in a few years if he continues to be serious about playing hockey and gets drafted. Spencer got his picture taken with Eric Staal, who was one of the team captains and is the offensive face of the Hurricanes.
I also got a letter of thanks from Mayor Meeker’s office Friday night, which was cool. He said all these great things about National Agents Alliance and me, so it made me feel even better about my decision to help the city and our favorite hockey team out.
There were more than 30,000 people downtown all weekend and it was a blast.
On Saturday, we got to see the SuperSkills Challenge where they have a hardest shot, breakaway speed races and all these contests with the players. Team Staal won that so we were pumped, and teammates Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner competed too.
Sunday, we were still hanging around Raleigh and we got to the game early enough to check everything out. The RBC Center was rocking with 16,000 fans. The Hurricanes put on a great show for us, even though Team Staal lost the game 11-10. It was awesome.
So, I felt good about moving our convention to a week earlier when it was all said and done for a few reasons. I love the Carolina Hurricanes, I love the city of Raleigh and I knew this was a global event that the area and the organization needed to host. It pumped in millions of dollars into our economy so that is huge for Wake County and Raleigh, N.C. I loved seeing our backyard be put in the spotlight not only in the United States, but around the world. It was vital for Raleigh to have the game this year. We had to shift some things around on our end, but I know we did the right thing. I was able to help out Raleigh and my favorite hockey team by doing this. It was very important to me that the NHL, the Hurricanes, the city of Raleigh and National Agents Alliance found the best possible solution that was fair for all parties involved. I feel like we were able to do that. This weekend, Raleigh and the Hurricanes showed the NHL and its fans exactly why they deserved to host this event.
If we hadn’t worked with them, I’m not sure they would have been able to keep the bid and the game might have been awarded to another city. I just didn’t want to be the reason that happened, so we worked with them and I’m really glad we did.
I couldn’t let our convention be the reason Raleigh didn’t have the NHL All-Star game, I couldn’t let that be the reason the Hurricanes didn’t get to host the game and I couldn’t let that be the reason Spencer didn’t get to enjoy the whole experience of seeing some of his heroes play hockey in his backyard.
So, thumbs up to Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL! You put on a good show and we enjoyed watching it all!