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BLOG: Anselmi to put fans' interest 'at heart'

"Trust is really about doing what you say you're going to do, doing the right things, a fan feeling they're valued and feeling that you have their interest at heart," Oilers President and COO Tom Anselmi said Monday

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - On Monday, Tom Anselmi was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, while Bob Nicholson announced a position change for himself, now holding the title of Chairman of the Oilers.

Anselmi joins Oilers Entertainment Group with extended experience working within the sports industry landscape, formerly serving as COO of the Ottawa Senators. Prior to that, the new Oilers President worked 17 years with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in Toronto.

Anselmi fielded questions from media at the Oilers Hall of Fame Room and was asked how he will handle the passionate Oil Country fan base from a business perspective.

Video: 1-ON-1 | Tom Anselmi Exclusive

"I'm going to do a lot of listening, a lot of asking questions, market research and all the things you do to get a feel for what your customer is telling you," Anselmi said. "But I've been around sports long enough to know that if you don't make the playoffs, they're usually telling you that you suck, and if you make the playoffs, they're telling you they're happy. 

"So, we'll start with that premise and we're going to focus on getting back to the playoffs as soon as possible."

The 63-year-old furthered his comments by stating how he intends to establish a trusting relationship with Oilers fans.

"Trust is really about doing what you say you're going to do, doing the right things, a fan feeling they're valued and feeling that you have their interest at heart," he said. "Most of my career, that's generally been not that difficult to do. It's about having the right people and saying the right things.

"If you're going to succeed in this industry now, you've got to be an exceptional communicator and have to be on message all the time. You've got to say the right things, say what you mean and say what people want to hear. And tell them the truth. If you do that, you have trust. And then just deliver the goods."

Video: 1-ON-1 | Bob Nicholson Exclusive

Nicholson was also on hand at the press conference. The Oilers Chairman reiterated some of the changes the organization has made this off-season and how they will impact the Oilers team and city of Edmonton.

"Tom's going to bring an experience that we don't have at this organization," Nicholson said. "I love the two things he talked about: he talked about how are we going to grow the staff. If the staff grows, the organization gets better. And the other key thing is guest experiences. When the people come in the building, how do we make sure that they have an 'I remember moment' all the time. 

"He's going to bring a lot of new ideas to that whole business side and that's how we're going to make sure we get the fans, the community and Oil Country re-engaged to a level, hopefully, that we've never seen before."

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