Nick McAdam, Sports Editor
The Public Relations Student Society of America, otherwise known as PRSSA, recently received behind-the-scenes action of how an NHL game operates as the Buffalo Sabres took on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 1.
The tour was provided by the VP of Media Operations for the Sabres, Chris Bandura, who graduated from UC in 1999 with a degree in public relations and journalism.
Club members witnessed production elements of the game, met with members of the media, watched the game and were able to meet players such as Sabres’ captain Jack Eichel and television commentator Rick Jeanneret.
Stat packets, team yearbooks and various merchandise were also provided to the members along with a presentation from Bandura on his journey to where he is now.
According to PRSSA’s social media operator Madison Judge, the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity filled with new moments for her.
“I have never been to an NHL game before or even seen one, so to experience it the way I did was amazing,” Judge said.
The Sabres defeated the Blue Jackets by a score of 2-1 (OT). Forward Evan Rodrigues kicked off the scoring with an early slot-shot that beat Blue Jackets’ goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, which was followed in the third period with a goal from Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The game ended just seconds into overtime as Eichel swerved into the Blue Jackets zone and angled a snapshot into the yawning cage to snap a three-game losing streak.
Moments after scoring the game-winning goal, members were able to meet with Eichel, which Judge said was her favorite part of the experience.
“To meet him and talk to him for a brief moment and get a selfie was pretty cool,” Judge said. “I haven’t really met any famous people before. I also just enjoyed the atmosphere and spending some time with my peers in PRSSA.”
The experience comes a year after PRSSA was brought back to UC after many years of absence from student activities. A total of 14 students with the help of professor Elizabeth Burback were able to spark the organization’s revival, which has been with the College since 1946.
After a year of planning events and fundraising, current advisor Patricia Swann was able to set up the experience for the members.
The biggest takeaway for Judge and the rest of the organization was the flow and communication from everything from food operations to broadcasting the game on live television. Of course, the entire process has to happen over the course of an 82-game basis over a seven-to-eight month period of time.
“It was a very cool experience and I will never forget how much I saw people working as hard as they possibly can to ensure everyone has a great experience at the game and everything runs smoothly,” Judge said. “The whole facility and organization ran like a well-oiled machine and I loved seeing it up close and personal.”
Before heading back to Utica, the members stopped at Nick Tahoe’s in Rochester where the garbage plate was invented. Senior Jessica Bates enjoyed her meal but also reflected on her positive experiences from the entire trip.
“It was reassuring to see how successful someone that graduated from UC has become and I learned so much about what it takes to work in the field of PR,” Bates said. “The biggest takeaways from the day were the need for balance and to stay positive, even if everyone else around you may not be.”
PRSSA plans to hold more events in the future, while planning on touring more places and companies to get a look at how public relations affects every business.