NHL playoff teams brimming with Brock alumni

Thomas Fenn (BA ’18) has made his way from Bob Davis Gymnasium to Scotiabank Arena — and he’s not alone.

It wasn’t long ago that he was a Media and Communications student working for the Badgers at Brock University.

Today, Fenn is responsible for turning around media content for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a timely manner during game days. He is currently one of more than 60 Brock alumni, which includes general manager Kyle Dubas (BSM ’07), working for the NHL franchise during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Fenn said it’s surreal working in pro sports and credits his time at Brock for helping to make his dreams become reality. He fondly recalled the time he spent working with the student-run marketing body, We Are Ready, to enhance school spirit around varsity athletics and polishing his writing skills by contributing to the University’s student-led newspaper, The Brock Press.

“Working in pro sports means the world to me and Brock University helped mould me into who I am today,” Fenn said. “My professors, TAs and academic advisor at Brock always led me to believe there was always an opportunity available to have a career in sports. They helped push me to develop the skills and connections I needed to succeed at that level.”

The Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers are the two remaining Canadians teams in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Mug during the second round of the playoffs.

The Oilers Entertainment Group also includes a strong Brock presence, including more than 25 grads in a variety of roles in key areas, such as marketing, sales, venue and hockey operations.

Jake Zuckernick (BSM ’20) was pleasantly surprised to run into fellow Badgers when he moved out to Alberta to begin a career with the Oilers after graduating from Brock’s Sport Management program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Moving out here alone, I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone from Ontario let alone Brock alumni, so it felt incredible knowing that I had my Brock family here after moving across the country,” said Zuckernick. “Brock University and its SPMA program left me well equipped with all of the skills I need to succeed at my current role with the Edmonton Oilers.”

Zuckernick sells season seats for the Oilers as an Account Executive in Ticket Sales. He’s inspired every day to sell the experience and memories that come along with unforgettable moments in pro hockey.

“At Brock, I learned how to work effectively in a team setting. In SPMA, we did a lot of group projects that required tons of communication and allowed me to develop leadership skills, organizational skills and time management,” he said. “Every day at work I am almost as excited as I was when I was six years old going to my first NHL game, because I know that I’m selling an experience that includes lifelong memories.”

South of the border, Matt Rodell (BSM ’13) is Director, Hockey Analytics for the Dallas Stars, who are currently locked in a Western Conference semifinal series with the Seattle Kraken.

Rodell, a native of Richmond Hill, was named to the Dean’s Honour List during his time at Brock. After graduating, he landed with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League before joining Dallas’ American Hockey League (AHL) developmental affiliate, the Texas Stars.

“Growing up, I always dreamed of working in the NHL. As I matured, I began to narrow down that goal and identified that I wanted to work in an NHL front office,” said Rodell. “Working in this industry has afforded me several unique experiences and the opportunity to work with very talented people. It has been a true privilege to contribute to a great organization and see hockey flourish in the state of Texas.”

In 2019, he worked his way up to the NHL. His current role with Dallas involves merging quantitative analysis with traditional hockey insight to help key constituents within the Stars organization make quick, informed decisions.

“The network I was able to establish at Brock University was truly invaluable to my career path,” Rodell said. “The relationships I formed and people I had spur me on truly helped shape my work ethic and open doors in my career.”

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