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Transcript of Charlie Jacobs Press Conference 1/6

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS PRESS CONFERENCE

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL PRINCIPAL CHARLIE JACOBS
Opening statement…
Good morning everybody. Today’s a pretty special day. It’s quite an honor and a privilege to be sitting up here today and be representing my family’s business here in Boston. It’s a privilege because of the iconic brands we have here and in regards to the club, of course the TD Garden and building our enterprise all here throughout the commonwealth. I think this has been  a process that you may or may not know has been in the works for probably 14 years since I’ve moved my wife and children here to Massachusetts from California. I will say that my dad, while maybe taking a step back from the Chief Executive Officer role, will still be our Chairman and quite active in decision making and of course as Chairman he will ultimately have final decisions that I will have to consult with him before anything is final. But, having said that, more and more of the day to day operations will fall to my responsibilities. So with that I imagine you all have some questions of me, and I’m here to answer.

On how rewarding this promotion is and what goals you have…
Well, I can speak to goals first. You may have heard  a phrase that we try to use and as we aspire to be best in class and best in practice throughout our industry, and that doesn’t necessarily just mean hockey or basketball and throughout sport, that’s really our aspiration. When I sit here, I feel fortunate that we have everything in our control. If you think about everything from our game-day experience when our customer comes in we can control the experience of how they park, how they come into our building, what they see when they come in, the hospitality that touches them from our Sportservice associates and building associates. It’s the entertainment programming that we have in terms of the Boston Bruins. Really trying to set the bar again and again so that we really are measured as, I should say, where others measure themselves against to achieve. So that’s our goal and I can say that I’m very fortunate to have the executive team that we do have here at the Garden with Amy Latimer, and of course with Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli. Very fortunate to have people and resources like them and of course our Sportservice associates and our General manager Don Versace. We’ve got a good group. I’m very fortunate to have them as part of the leadership team here.

On the current state of the Bruins…
I’d say without question this has been a very disappointing year. It’s unacceptable the way this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team, to see it deliver the way it has is unacceptable.

On what needs to change in order to turn things around…
I don’t have that answer. I can just tell you that at the moment this is a very fluid situation that is being monitored very closely. I don’t have any answers for why we’re underperforming. If I did I would have tried to fix them long ago.

On updates about the Winter Classic coming to Boston…
You know, I wish I could share more regarding the Winter Classic other than I certainly hope it comes to Boston. There’s been a lot of whisper about it. Honestly that’s a National Hockey League press release, not one that I would have the authority to give other than to be there when it happens and support it. Although, I really do hope we get the Winter Classic in 2016.

On this changing anything on the hockey operations side…
No, well yes and no. Our organization, for a long time, has been very flat in its structure and the decision making is done mostly by consensus. We, of course, have some consultative decisions and some that are unilateral. I reserve the right to have a unilateral decision, although I will share that if you were to canvas the executive team that I work with, and that includes both Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli], that rarely happens. That’s not necessarily my style. I reserve the right to do it but it’s rarely happened.

On your management style being a consensus…
I think you’re putting words into my mouth when you say that. I would say that, by and large, it’s consensus. As I mentioned I would serve by qualifying those three that I just mentioned. While it’s rare that I will make a unilateral decision for the group, I certainly reserve the right to do so.

On feeling additional pressure with this position…
Yes, I do. I do and rightfully so. More is being asked and in turn the expectation is that more will be delivered. And I certainly don’t want to disappoint in that regard.

On the timing of this move being related to the Bruins position…
I will really encourage you not to read too much into the timing of this, in that frankly this is a process that’s probably been in the works for in excess of probably 18 months or so. It just so happened that we’re here on January, what is today the sixth, and we’re making this announcement when the team is barely treading water in ninth or tenth place right now.

On what you have learned since joining the Bruins and being more prepared for this role…
Oh, enormous. I tell you, I spent a number of years working and, frankly, apprenticing under Harry Sinden who is still a great advisor. I had great conversations and continue to have great conversations with Harry. But having worked not only here in Boston for 14 years or so, but also spending some time with other NHL franchises with the LA Kings as I did. It’s really given me a much better perspective on what you ask of people, what your expectations should be of management and player personnel and frankly how to lead a group. I certainly would not be capable, or was not capable in 2001 or 2002 when I came here and as this maturation has occurred, I feel this is a natural progression of my development and really this is the position I aspired to have when I first came here, as I mentioned in my opening statement.

On how much more you want to accomplish with this new position…
Well, I would say that winning the Stanley Cup every year should be our goal and I don’t think that would be different if you asked any one of my associates here both in the building or the team. I feel ownership of ‘11 as does everybody in this building and as they should. That’s what I’m going to espouse here as CEO is that we work as a complete unit. When I refer to the game day experience and how all of the different subsidiaries within Delaware North need to collaborate and create the best in class experience. Likewise we share in our success. It’s not necessarily our hockey-ops that get to say we won. The whole enterprise should.

On Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli reporting to you and if that has changed…
As I mentioned we’re very flat in terms of our structure. So I’m clear there’s not a work chart that says I’m up here—well there is but the way we operate is very flat and we really do consult quite a bit in terms of our decision making process. I’ve had several meetings within the past 24 hours with really all of our senior leadership and specifically with both Cam and Peter regarding our team. This point in time, we’re still evaluating where this club is at, where our shortcomings are and that’s back to my consultative process of really trying to figure out amongst the group where we can right this ship.

On your confidence in the leadership group right now…
As I mentioned earlier, we’re in constant state of evaluation right now. This is a fluid process.

On how much of a failure is it for Delaware North if the Bruins do not make the playoffs…
If you think about what has been put in this team in terms of—let’s discount all of the scouting, all of the drafting, all of the money spent on the player personnel, for us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable. Everybody in the executive offices are fully aware how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process and it’s fluid right now. I can’t say at any moment we have a final decision other than to say that it’s been an utter disappointment and a failure, complete failure.

On what the evaluation means for players, coaches and front office…
It’s a fluid process.

On this evaluation being different than normal circumstances where Peter Chiarelli is always trying to improve the team…
I think Peter [Chiarelli] could probably best answer that question. But when you’re in the position we’re in, you’re not dealing from the position of strength, that’s without question.

On Delaware North progressing as you would like…
Thank you for bringing that up because I forgot to mention in my opening statement how much I look forward to our new development out front. For those of you who sat through some of our season ending press conferences or season ticket holder events, you have heard me reference this process. We are about to undertake a, what I think will be, a transformational project for Delaware North Boston in the development of our front lot. Where our player personnel parks now will be, and you can quote me on this and put it in the paper, it’s going to happen before 2015 is over. We’re going to have a shovel in the ground and we’re going to enter what I would call phase one of the new development project in front. That is part of my purview and something that I really look forward to developing because, frankly, for those that live in the North End or the West End or even in the Bulfinch Triangle that it’s going to, in my opinion, radically change the lifestyle of the people that live around here. In that the Hub, what is North Station, will be really transformed and it’s something that when finished and complete we all as Bostonians will be quite proud of.
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