Exclusive: The future of the Wolf Pack with VP of Business Operations, Erik Hansen
Joining Hartford’s front office in December, Erik Hansen joined the Wolf Pack as VP of Business Operations in December. Erik, along with every AHL front office is facing a challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic that abruptly paused and cancelled the 2019-2020 season. I reached out to Erik with a few questions that Wolf Pack fans would like to know for the upcoming season.
Q: If and when fans can return to the XL Center next season, what should fans look forward to?
A: Hard to say today what everything will look like and what type of restrictions we will have, but I would say it will be great just to be able to cheer on the Wolf Pack. So much is still unknown and things still changing each day, but I just look forward for fans to be able to watch great hockey.
Q: Last season, the Wolf Pack were planning on hosting the 2000 championship team for the last home game of the season. Will there be plans on rescheduling the festive event?
A: That was going to be a fun night and we had a lot of things we wanted to do. As it stands now we have not started talking with the team yet, but it is something we would love to try to do again.
Q: Since joining the Wolf Pack’s front office beginning in December, what do you enjoy most about the city?
A: From what I have seen of Hartford so far, I have enjoyed the city even though I have not had a chance to explore as much as I would like. I’ve taken advantage of the great parks and trails to exercise with my dog, Tito, as well as try out the many different restaurants Hartford has to offer.
Q: The state of Connecticut continuously looks at upgrading the XL Center. How would any form of renovation benefit the Wolf Pack from a fan experience and the business aspect of the facility?
A: I love the current set-up of the XL Center as it encompasses so much history in addition to it being a great place to watch a game. If the state does do some renovations it would only help make the building that much better. For the last 15-20 years there have been so many new arenas and stadiums built, but I feel the new trend is just improving what you already have.
Q: Describe the long term vision you have for the franchise.
Hartford has an amazing history of hockey. My goal is to start with the basics, with three different categories. Season tickets/Mini Plans, Groups and single game tickets. I have been working on focusing on specific departments, so we have a retention department, groups department and a new business department. This will give the staff the focus all year long to improve each of these categories. When I have gone out and interacted with groups, I noticed that there’s a great opportunity to improve the Season ticket base. We were well on the way of improving that, at the time of the last game on March 11th we already sold more new Season ticket over all of last season. When we start building out the season ticket base, it will give us more leverage to try new events, new giveaways and so on with the help of our creative marketing team.
Q: Regarding fan safety and health when the XL Center is cleared to open, what changes could fans possibly see when attending events?
A: At this time I think it is hard to predict what will happen in the coming months, but the safety of the fans, players and staff always come first. The thing that has been able to help us is every team is dealing with the same issue, so we have been on many phone calls across the league, brainstorming ways to bring fans back. Since the beginning of March the world has changed drastically, including the sports industry especially. So when we come back you will see changes implemented to ensure safety of all guests inside the arena.
Q: Do you have a message that you would like to leave for Wolf Pack fans?
A: We miss you and can’t wait until we play in front of our amazing fans again. We thank you all for being patient with us during this crazy time, and hope everyone is staying healthy and safe.
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about attending a game next season or tickets, feel free to reach Erik. He will absolutely help you out. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.