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Loomis provides the non-playing entertainment

by Travis Brillowski
Paul Loomis is the manager, game presentation for the Minnesota Wild.

What, you might ask, does game presentation have to do with me? I came to watch the game, it's right there, you don't have to present it to me. Ah, but there is more to Loomis' job than meets the eye.

While the players entertain the fans between the whistles, Loomis' job might be just as hard. Before games, and any time there's a stop in the action, it's his job to entertain the fans who have packed Wild home games at the Xcel Energy Center.

From pregame videos to between-periods entertainment, to anything that happens outside of the action on the ice, it falls on Loomis and his staff to keep things coordinated and organized, and most importantly, keep the building loud. Considering the Wild have sold out every game during their first seven seasons -- and season No. 8 is tracking to be another full-season sell-out -- he and his crew must be doing something right.

Here is what an average game day is like for Loomis, leading up to the drop of the puck at 7 p.m.

8:30 a.m. -- Paul begins the day by meeting with the game day video editor, Pete Keffer, to discuss all of the video elements required for game time. Once the two are on the same page and Pete feels comfortable enough to complete them on his own, they will discuss the theme for the pregame tease and toss around ideas on what styles to use to edit it.

Late morning to early afternoon -- In between edits, Paul will head to his computer to construct the scripts for the events that will be included in that night's game. These include a schedule of events, elements required for any given event, scripts for public address announcers and a schedule for the game's host.

4:30 p.m. -- Paul will hold a production meeting with crew. The objectives of this meeting are to discuss responsibilities for the night's events, inform the crew of unique or new elements in the show and walk through the script so everybody on the crews knows what to expect as they proceed through the game.

6:00 p.m. -- Though the fans are just starting to file in and the players are just warming up, Paul's "game day" has began. He has his headset on and is prepared to "quarterback" his staff through the game.

Warmups begin and Paul begins the music. The pregame announcements are made and we're ready for the opening festivities.

7:00 p.m. -- The game is about to begin. Paul doesn't have much room for error in the following 8 minutes. The television broadcast productions -- local, visiting, and national networks -- depend on him to be exact on his timing so their shows can continue on pace and they can fit in all of their commercials without missing action or having lots of dead air. If Paul says the puck will drop at 7:08 p.m., he better be dead on, otherwise there will be angry producers in the TV production trucks.

7:08 p.m. -- The puck has dropped. Paul's job for the next few hours is to coordinate almost everything fans will see and hear throughout the game. He has specific rules to follow, but ultimately he's in charge of choosing commercial content for the breaks in the shows. He continues to coordinate sponsored elements during the breaks; he needs to make sure the Best Buy logo is up for the fan cam, while Baja Sol's animation is running on the 360-degree ribbon board at the same time; he makes sure there's a shot of an employee shoveling the ice to promote Ace hardware, all while trying to pack it in quickly enough to come back from break with a replay of the great save that just happened.

Third period -- Now is when Paul gets to really put his touch on the game. With the majority of promotions run, he has scheduled himself some extra time for the fans. The flexibility allows him to run some fun video clips or, better yet, run a motivational piece encouraging fans to get loud. A loud crowd can give the team additional energy, so his purpose of playing the fan prompts is to make sure they're a part of the action.

End of the game -- The final horn has sounded, and Paul's job is done for the night. But he'll be back bright and early to put together the next game's list of events.

Travis Brillowski is the coordinator of Web site traffic for the Minnesota Wild.

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