In August of every year, the NHL season kicks off behind closed doors. While the players do not report and start playing until September, the NHL and club offices are hard at work creating financial goals, marketing plans, and standard practices that employees follow during the season. There are numerous subjects that are discussed, dissected, and finalized. A lot of the options discussed in these meetings never see the light of day. As fans we only see the final choice in the commercials, the contracts, the uniforms, and the overall representation of the NHL to the world.

Somewhere along the line in the 30-team system poor decisions are made, bad contracts are signed, and the teams are left to clean up their own mess. Any fan can openly criticize an organization for their choices. It happens every day. But how many fans can take away the emotion of their loyalty to analyze these decisions for what they truly are while providing their own solutions?

Welcome to Ice the Office where I try to do just that.  This will be a blog that focuses on the state of the NHL and hockey in the United States through off ice issues such as marketing, public relations, design, social media, and business development. In my examination, I’ll be posting my own thoughts and alternative solutions. At some points this blog might venture into the international game as well as the state of hockey in the world.

But before I get started with the discussions, I think there is something that needs to be pointed out. I believe that there is one rule that everyone (NHL Offices and fans alike) should grasp:

Business is never personal. The moment you make it personal is the day you lose your credibility. If your credibility is lost, then your job should soon follow.

The conversations that will soon take place won’t be out of spite. There are plenty of instances where fans let emotions run free only to cry out that the sky is falling with every step taken by their favorite teams and league officials. This can also happen behind closed doors within team offices. Employees create tension by letting stress infiltrate their minds to breed absurd ideas. Realistically, if the employee (or player) cannot complete the tasks that they were given on a consistent basis, it is time to find a better solution for that position. I would never advocate for someone to lose their job just for the sake of losing their job.

In an ideal environment, everything would be determined by your attitude and performance. Those that step up to plate and put in the work will be respected even if they unfortunately couldn’t complete their duties. Those who complain and take liberties against their coworkers and upper management waste time. From a personal standpoint, I would much rather have someone be honest and fire me if I wasn’t the correct person for the position in question.

For example, in the last NHL All Star game the teams were picked through a player draft scenario created by Brendan Shanahan. Sure enough, everyone was buzzing about who would be picked last. It turns out that Toronto Maple Leaf forward Phil Kessel ended up being the last man standing. Should Phil Kessel or Toronto’s General Manager Brian Burke be offended?

Quite simply, no. In this scenario, we have to understand that this was the nature of the draft. Someone had to be the last player chosen. Mr. Kessel realized it was all in good fun and took it extremely well. All of us understand that nobody truly wants to be picked last but all things considered, it wasn’t that bad. In an effort to smooth things over, Mr. Irrelevant was given a Honda vehicle and $20,000 to donate to a charity of his choice. At this point this case needed to be closed.

If there is one loophole to this statement, one might argue to account for inept management. There is some truth to the counter argument. I don’t believe there will ever be a situation where the perfect person will be holding their perfect job. People will ultimately make mistakes, management won’t listen, and the fans will be left on their own island. And while there are no excuses for having inept management, if you believe that a wrong decision was made, present your case respectfully and move on.

This initial post marks a new beginning for Ice The Office as well as myself. I hope you enjoy the content you’ll find here. Every proposition will be for the good of the NHL or hockey in America. And like with everything you read these days, you can take it or leave it. The final decision is yours.