This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.

Accept

Sport Management majors gain insight into the business side of professional hockey

Former members of the Portland Pirates' management team Brad Church and Ron Cain with Aimee Vlachos
Former members of the Portland Pirates' management team Brad Church and Ron Cain with Aimee Vlachos

March 04, 2020

Ron Cain told students he looks for people who demonstrate leadership skills for the successful businesses he owns
Ron Cain told students he looks for people who demonstrate leadership skills for the successful businesses he owns
Brad Church provided insight for students about his days as a professional hockey player, coach and executive
Brad Church provided insight for students about his days as a professional hockey player, coach and executive
Ron Cain's son Cam was a defenseman for the Nor'easters hockey team
Ron Cain's son Cam was a defenseman for the Nor'easters hockey team

Ron Cain and Brad Church are no longer in the business of professional hockey. But both are well aware of the ups and downs that come with professional sports.

Cain was the majority owner of the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates team from 2014 to 2016.

Church was the seventeenth pick overall in the 1995 National Hockey League draft and a member of the Portland Pirates’ Hall of Fame.

Both of them recently spoke to students in Aimee Vlachos’ Sports Governance class.

“We talk a lot about contracts, collective bargaining agreements, team relocation, recruiting, and the draft,” said Vlachos, Ed.D., assistant lecturer in the Sport Management and Recreation program. “I wanted to have two people come in that actually had real life experience with these issues, outside of what is in the textbook.”

Church spoke to students about being an assistant coach after his playing days and the tough role of being a buffer between the players and the head coach. Not long after assuming that position, he was promoted to the head coaching job for the East Coast Hockey League’s Phoenix Roadrunners.

“The coaching piece is just a small part of your job,” he told the students. “You have to recruit your team, take care of travel arrangements, keep an eye on the salary cap, and deal with the collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Hockey Player’s Association. So, there are a lot of different logistics off the ice.”

The students questioned Cain about what it takes to get one's foot in the door of a professional sports organization.

“Build your network,” he told them. “Get out and do some internships. Get into the marketing, ticket sales, or the operating side of it. Anything to get it on your resume.”

Cain decided to retire a few years ago, but life on the sidelines did not last long. He now runs several successful businesses, including Legacy Global Sports (LGS), a premier youth sports event and management company. LGS is the team behind some of the world’s most successful youth sports programs and events.

Cain told the students he is always looking for people who show they have leadership skills.

“I told them to focus on the life skills that they are going to get going through college,” he explained. “As athletes, many of them have already accumulated relationship skills and team building. All of those things are going to translate into success in business. I would also tell them, ‘finish your education and get your degree.’”

Cain’s son Cam graduated from UNE in 2011 with a degree in Sport Management. He also played on the UNE hockey team.

“The coach recruited him to come here, and he loved it,” Cain stated. “He loved the student body and loved the university.  I think it was a great experience for him. Coming here to speak to this class today was a way for me to give back a little bit for what UNE gave him.”

 

Groups audience: