by Albany Devils // 10.20.2011 // Fan Advisory Board

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Albany Devils Fan Advisory Board held their fourth meeting, which took play in the executive offices. The focus was the opening weekend. Here are the minutes from that meeting.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Director of Public Relations Kevin Zalaznik updated the board on the announcement of an affiliation with ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings, as well as the Albany Devils roster being cut down to 25 players. He acknowledged the opening weekend and Vice President of Sales & Marketing Chris Valente asked for thoughts and comments on this.

Discussion Items

  • Board Member Matt Farron opened with his disappointment in the overall experience of the game, and with the presentation of the arena. He appreciated the gestures that the Albany Devils are putting forward to their fans, but doesn’t like the tone set by the arena that the Devils are second notch to Siena, in terms of concessions, cleanliness, and on-going construction (Papa Johns, Absolut Bar).
  • Chris Valente addressed the issues of the NHL preseason game, concerning Aramark concessions and overall presentation put on by SMG and the NY Rangers. Members noticed a difference and the improvements, made by SMG from the preseason game to Opening Night. Kevin Zalaznik emphasized that the Devils have addressed all of the issues with the arena and Aramark.
  • Chris Valente initiated discussion on Opening Night. While there were excuses of weather, time of year, Sunday football games, other markets were in the same conditions and did significantly better. The Devils can’t give excuses, or rely on hope that fans will come out. Board Member Michael Ripley asked if there were any complaints with the tier pricing, and Chris answered that there hadn’t been any heard.
  • Board Member Samuel Dearth addressed the product on the ice, that if that were to improve would the rest of the issues fall into place. He raised the questions of what is being promoted to the average guy to bring him out to a game, what attracts anyone to come back? The product on the ice is out of executive office control, and they need to market and sell in preparation for a loss each and every night.
  • Board Member Patricia Brady believes is the same complaint that she has heard in the years since the Devils originally left Albany, that the Devils only care about New Jersey and not their Albany team. Until play on the ice improves, fans will not feel any different. Samuel agreed that it is less appealing to watch, and come back, if the players don’t care.
  • Matt Farron feels that since there isn’t any control over the product on the ice, then there should be an emphasis put on what there is control over, that the small things all add to the experience. He feels attendance will reach the 20,000 additional fans goal set by the Devils, but in few major promotional nights rather than over the entire season.  Chris Valente expressed confidence in attendance over the course of the year, and that after January things will improve, but there needs to be improvements made before then.

Next Meeting

  • Based on availability of Board members, a date for the next Fan Advisory Board meeting was set for Tuesday, November 15th at 6 pm.

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