Brock students to help Niagara IceDogs tackle industry issue during SPMA Alumni Day

The Niagara IceDogs will get a helping hand from Brock University’s Sport Management (SPMA) students to address a problem impacting the hockey industry.

SPMA students will pitch their proposed solutions to the real-world problem during the seventh annual Sport Management Alumni Day on Monday, March 11, showcasing what they’ve learned in the classroom and tips they’ve picked up while working in the field.

More than 30 alumni will return to campus to hear the presentations and participate in the daylong event.

“Brock Sport Management students are increasingly participating in and winning case competitions hosted by industry partners and other universities,” says Sport Management Student Council President David Stark. “By hosting a case competition at Brock, we are hoping to garner more interest in Alumni Day and provide a fun and effective way to engage students in all years of study in experiential education.”

When initially developing the idea, the Sport Management Student Council decided the Niagara IceDogs were the first-choice industry partner for this competition because of the close ties they have to the Brock community.

“It was important to us to engage a local sport organization, in order to help students make a real connection with the theory behind what they are learning in the classroom and how it applies in a high-pressure situation,” Stark explains. “The IceDogs were a natural choice for us because they employ several Sport Management alumni and work regularly with Brock students to provide experiential education and placement opportunities.”

Students participating in the case competition will have 72 hours once the case is released to develop a solution to the detailed scenario presented. The top four teams will be selected to present a 10-minute marketing plan to a panel of judges comprised of Niagara IceDogs staff, and Sport Management faculty and alumni.

“The Bachelor of Sport Management program at Brock has proven again and again that they are developing some of the best young talent entering into our industry,” says Nino Bourikas (BSM ’11), Niagara IceDogs Hockey Club Director for Community Marketing and Group Sales. “For us to be able to obtain knowledge and ideas from SPMA students on a marketing issue that we feel can be improved upon with the IceDogs is invaluable.”

Bourikas, himself a Sport Management grad, shared that he is extremely grateful the IceDogs have such a fantastic partnership with his alma mater.  

“I feel very lucky to be situated in such close proximity to a number of great academic minds,” Bourikas says. “When I was approached by SPMA Council to see if there was any interest in us helping out with the case competition, it was a no-brainer for me.”

While the exact scenario cannot be shared until it is released to participating students on Friday, March 8, Stark says “it is an issue that is likely common throughout the Ontario Hockey League and applicable to other leagues and sports within the commercial sector of the industry.”

The four finalist teams that make it to the presentation stage will gain thorough feedback from alumni on the judging panel and real-world marketing experience.

Students who choose not to compete are encouraged to watch the final presentations on Monday, March 11 at 11 a.m. in GSB 308 to see what a case competition environment looks like.

“The hope is that we gain substantial interest from students once the case is released, and they recognize the value they receive not only from taking part in this exercise, but also from receiving industry knowledge through the panel’s feedback,” Stark says. “We hope all students who watch the presentations are inspired to try it for themselves in future.”

The finalists will be invited to join an invitation-only Alumni Day luncheon where the winning team will be announced and a prize awarded.

“The seventh annual Sport Management (SPMA) Alumni Day is an opportunity for our program’s near 950 students to network with industry professionals and learn more about various careers available to them,” says Department of Sport Management Chair Kirsty Spence. “What started seven years ago has developed into a truly exemplar day of students learning from alumni and alumni being happy to return to campus.”

More than 30 Sport Management alumni representing a broad spectrum of organizations, positions and industry sectors will return to campus to share their experiences and insider knowledge with students on sport-specific topics such as globalization, finance, intellectual property, social responsibility and marketing.

More information on SPMA Alumni Day and a full schedule of panelists is available on the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences website.

Any alumni interested in joining SPMA Alumni Day can contact Associate Professor Shannon Kerwin at for more details.

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