(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)
“UAH is the shining light of southern collegiate hockey.” This fact combined with a desire to be actively involved in some way is what drove President of the Nashville Predators, Sean Henry, who noted the aforementioned quote to participate in the Advisory Board founded as the program brought back this Spring.
In addition, as to its impact on the whole campus Henry sees the following given the unique status of hockey as the only sport at the Division one level on campus. For Hockey to thrive in the long run at Huntsville the program itself needs consistent national exposure, and maximizable revenue opportunities. Coming up with and providing ideas to implement those revenue options is one of Henry’s biggest contributions to the board.
In addition, he and others are being helpful to the Athletic Department in being a sounding board.
That is, he does not participate in meetings, but serves as a very influential consultant able to open doors for the Athletic Department. The board itself has become a lifeline for the Athletic Department, while Henry serves as a very important sounding board for areas in his expertise. He likes providing as much help as possible to everyone in his organization, and has taken that approach to helping this board. When the Athletics Department has some questions, he guides them not to what is the “right” answer, but one that is doable given the conditions the Chargers have. Henry is also an advocate for the school adding more positions across the department to benefit every sport, and therefore hockey, by extension. This year is a building block for the Chargers in many ways, chief among them being ideas that generate revenue.
One other area of note, once UAH has a better idea of their conference affiliation, in the name of building exposure, Henry is working with the program to provide ideas for marquee games, and tournaments to bring the best in college hockey to Nashville, of course the Chargers would be an integral part to this endeavor. Henry is of the mind that more hockey for everyone is good, saying its good for everyone involved given that, “the more hockey you see the more you love it, the more you love it the more you come.”
With all of that said, it is clear to Henry that UAH is going in the right direction, and of its larger impact on the Athletic Department and School, he said that as hockey gets more exposure it will benefit athletics as a whole and “a great Athletics Department can make a good college even better.”
With his decades of experience in professional sports, with the Pistons, Lightning, and now Predators, Henry has fun and revenue generation pretty well figured out for Smashville. He brings that same energy to this board. The board at the end of the day is designed to help this Athletic Department climb to the top of the mountain of Division One College Hockey, not teleport to it.
Throughout this interview Henry noted the renewed relationship with the Huntsville Havoc that the Athletic Department is working to foster this season. As both teams share the arena, they have the ability to work together to defray expenses while maximizing revenue for all.
Henry knows this year will be one of growth for UAH, saying that “growth naturally happens” over time as the team looks to build the next chapter of the program from here.
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