Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Nashville Predators Overhaul Top Front Office Execs

The Nashville Predators made some big moves today at the top of the front office staff by naming Jeff Cogen CEO, and Sean Henry the President/COO of the team.

These moves are further indication that the Predators are serious about the commitment that Tom Cigarran related at the recent "Skate of the Union" when he proclaimed that ownership wanted to bring the Stanley Cup to Nashville.

Cogen and Henry have impressive resumes and have been successful in prior positions with their respective teams. Both come from other "non-traditional" hockey markets and have expertise in dealing with many of the issues that the Predators have faced.

It is sad to see that Ed Lang will be leaving the organization as he has always been a straight shooter who was dedicated to the Predators cause.

Along with the court approval, last Friday, of the transfer of the ownership shares from the Boots DelBiaggio bankruptcy to the other current owners, these moves make the Predators more attractive for additional investors to become involved with the franchise.

Nashvillians should be challenged by the recent series of moves to lend additional support to the Predators organization that has made a strong commitment to put a championship caliber team on the ice in the next few years.

Here is the full Press release in it's entirety from the Predators...

The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena are strengthening their top leadership with the addition of a new Chief Executive Officer and a new President/Chief Operating Officer for the NHL franchise and arena.

In a move aimed at continuing the positive momentum of the organization and strengthening business operations, the ownership group announced today that Jeff Cogen has been named CEO and Sean Henry will serve as President/COO.

Jeff Cogen comes to the Predators from the Dallas Stars, where he served as the franchise's President and alternate league governor and was a Board Member overseeing the operation of Dallas's American Airlines Center. Under Cogen's leadership, the Stars were consistently in the top 10 in the NHL in attendance and considered the preeminent NHL Sun Belt franchise over the last 15 years.

"Jeff has an absolutely exceptional track record of transforming the business operations of major league sports teams, specifically hockey, and we are excited to bring his expertise and experience to our top business leadership position," said Tom Cigarran, a member of the ownership group and Predators Chairman. "His ability to not only manage the business side of our organization, but to also expand the excitement of Predators hockey and Bridgestone Arena on a citywide, regional and national level makes him the perfect person for the job." Cogen will report directly to the Board. David Poile, President of Hockey Operations, will also continue to report directly to the Board. Cigarran continues as Predators Chairman.

Sean Henry comes to the Predators from the Tampa Bay Lightning and The St. Pete Times Forum, where he served as the interim CEO and, prior to that, as the team and arena's COO since 1999. During his 11 years with the Lightning, Henry was instrumental in turning the franchise around by significantly growing suite and ticket revenues, expanding sponsorship revenues, structuring new partnerships with the city/county, and turning The St. Pete Times Forum into one of the busiest venues in the country. Henry brings a long history of success in the sports and entertainment industry, created by centering the organization on continuously improving the fan experience. Said Cigarran, "Sean is an exceptionally talented sports and entertainment executive whose experience, skill and commitment will add a major new dimension to our leadership team."

Ed Lang, who served as President of the Nashville Predators since December 2007, will be leaving the organization after a transition period. "Being a part of the Predators has been gratifying professionally and personally," Lang said. "However, at this stage of my career, it is time to move forward to the next chapter. I am excited about a number of new opportunities that I am considering. I will always be a Predators fan and look forward to the day the Predators win Nashville's first Stanley Cup." "Ed has worked tirelessly to build a foundation for future Predators' success and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his management of the team's business operations," Cigarran said. "Thanks to his hard work, the team is now positioned to greatly expand its reach, visibility and support in Tennessee and beyond."

The Nashville Predators wrapped up last season with a 47-29-6 record, earning their fourth appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the last five years, and have considerably strengthened the team in the offseason in preparation for the 2010-11 season. "The ownership group is committed to making this organization a strong entity both on and off the ice, and to having the Bridgestone Arena become the No. 1 sports and entertainment venue in the United States," said Cigarran. "These changes we are making are focused on putting the strongest management team in place that will successfully guide this organization for years to come. We are convinced that adding these two individuals to our many existing talented executives creates the ideal leadership team to accomplish that."

The 2010-11 season will kick off with a home game against the Anaheim Ducks on October 9 at Bridgestone Arena. "This is an exciting time for our organization," said Cigarran. "We have great momentum and can't wait to start the new season."

For information and prices on 2010-11 Nashville Predators season-ticket packages, skate to www.nashvillepredators.com or call (615) 770-PUCK (7825) to speak to an account executive

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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