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The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

One on One with the President

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Chris Zimmerman joined the Canucks in the 2006-07 season as President and CEO.  After one year with the team, he's taken away plenty and is already preparing for bigger and better next year. 

We opened the floor for fan questions and Zimmerman was happy to respond.

What are the Canucks plans to enhance the Pay-Per-View game experience? - Brent in Richmond

We are working on a number of improvements to our Pay-Per-View telecast that will include a number of improvements to our graphics. We want to the enhance the overall experience of the game at home, and I think the most important thing is going to be the continued efforts to provide the fans with insights and views of the team that are a little bit different from what you find on broadcasts that you'll see over the air.

Will the skate logo be coming back? - Trevor Norris

One of the things that's been made clear by our fan base, is that there's a wide variety of taste and interests in our historical logos and jerseys of our organization. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. In addition to the vintage we launched last year, we've begun to see renewed interest in the flying 'V' logo and the skate logo. So one of the ways that we'll meet that interest is by carrying a number of items including some of our other jerseys from the past as well as other merchandise, and we've already begun to do this. I don't see the old skate logo coming back in the future, but we'll continue to make it available through select items in retail.

With the popularity of games being broadcast in HD, did the Canucks have any reservations about agreeing to such a long deal, when Sportsnet has yet to broadcast a single Canucks game in HD? - Mark Murphy

Similar to all our fans, we have the desire and plans to begin to broadcast games in high definition as soon as possible. With our new Sportsnet agreement, we've got a guaranteed minimum of 95 games, which will be broadcast in high-def over the four years of the contract. Due to some of the production challenges that still have to be overcome, we expect the majority of those games to start in the 08-09 season. I'd certainly like to get there sooner. We're going to continue to push to get as many games as possible broadcast in high-def.

Is an all-Canucks channel in the works down the road? - Devon in Port Coquitlam

We don't have any immediate plans for a Canucks channel, but we love the idea of bringing more Canucks content to our fans because there are so many more stories to tell about our players, about analysis, pre-game,  and post-game. So we do have a strong appetite for developing and providing that content. Some of that's going to be delivered online through, but the fans can expect to see some new Canucks programming over the air this year.

Why did you pick the Vancouver Canucks? - Sam Ghosh

I grew up around the game and around hockey, I started playing when I was nine. Though I loved and played every sport, my deepest passion, and the thing I really focused on throughout my youth and high school, was playing hockey. I was fortunate enough to get to play in University in the United States and then coach for a few years. Then I got to the point of having to do, as people say, 'get a real job.' So I went into marketing and the advertising business and did that until I got what I considered my first dream job, which was going to work for Nike.

I had an incredible experience there and thought in many ways I would never leave. I spent 12 years there in several different roles. The great thing was the last job I was in, I was running the Nike Bauer hockey business, where I got to go from being with a great sports company to returning to the roots of my youth and my deepest connections.

When I got the call about the opportunity with the Canucks, I'd never thought about leading an NHL franchise, but as I thought about it, it really was a dream job too. So many things about the city, the city's passion, for both the game and the team ,were things that were incredibly compelling for myself and my family. That's what led to me deciding to leave and come be part of this. The experience in my first year has every way lived up to my hopes for this role.

Would the organization be looking at ways to improve the on-ice shows, similar to how the Ottawa Senators or the Buffalo Sabres use their ice to show images? Are there upgrades to the sound system in the future? - Michael in Saskatoon

I think over the summer, we're looking at a number of ways to improve everyone's game experience. On the sound system, we made some upgrades last year but there are definitely areas where it was not performing and working up to our expectations. We've got an engineering team in here and yes, we will improve the sound system over the course of the summer. One of the things that comes up all the time is our choice of music.

We've got a number of different initiatives and some promotional things we're going to do with some radio partners, where we get our fans involved over the summer, helping pick these songs that should be the top songs played at GM Place. I think we'll have some fun with that. In general, I think we've got some other programs in terms of special events that we'll be looking at next year. The goal for us is to have people feel like it's a special experience every time they come to the building.

Are there plans for more events similar to "Open Practice" over the course of next season and the coming years? - Steve Thiessen

We were thrilled with the Open Practice we had last year - it was a huge success. Our greatest objective is that there is tremendous demand to see and experience the team. We're fortunate enough to have sold-out for the last 174 games, so the open practice is a way to make the team accessible for people who can't otherwise get in the building. Our plan is to have two of them next year. Hopefully instead of trying to get another 16,000 people in the building, next year we can get 32,000.

The salary cap and the increase since post-lockout, our expectation is that the salary cap will have risen 28% in two years. Obviously our ticket prices are not rising at the same rate. The salary cap is a big part of of our cost structure and it is one of the things that does have some impact on ticket pricing.

What have you taken away from your first year with the team? - Trish in Salmon Arm

I'd like to think of the Vancouver Canucks as the team on the ice, as well as everybody that interacts with our fans in any venue, whether it's online, whether it's creating production, or whether it's the in-building experience. We will succeed and ultimately be great. Our goal is to win at every level with our fans, on the ice, and in the community.

So, success for us is providing the total experience and having an organization where everyone is committed to the same thing. I think we created a lot of special things both on the ice as well as off the ice this year, but we know, just as we do on the ice, that we have to keep getting better.
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