|While the Senators were on the ice Friday morning, Joe Louis Arena crews were still in preparation-mode putting on the finishing touches to what everyone hopes is a win-win for the home crowd. |
While the players and coaches have been hard at work for the past month preparing for a lengthy, and grueling, 82-game regular-season schedule, countless others have toiled behind the scenes to guarantee that everything else about tonight is viewed as an eminence accomplishment.
And one such person, who has worked tirelessly to make sure that 20,000-plus guests enjoy their time at The Joe this evening is the Wings’ director of marketing Rob Mattina.
“We have long summers in the planning of the year, and I think you see all of your hard work come to fruition on opening night,” Mattina said. “So it’s as exciting for us, as it is for the fans and the players.”
While the players took to the ice at 10:30 today for their morning skate, and the hospitality staff was fast at work preparing meals for the 400, or so, expectant guests inside the CC Olympia Club, the Wings’ marketing department was putting the final touches on things, including the pre-game show, which is set to begin at 6:50 p.m.
Mattina and his crew were also working with advertisers and media outlets to build buzz about tonight’s opener.
“It starts with the advertising that’s going on, on the radio, and the new commercial kind of gives you chills,” Mattina said. “You feel the energy through all of the media people that we spoke to this morning, and seeing Tom Wilson, Ken Holland and Mike Babcock all on air today.
“You feel it with the players and the excitement as they’re coming into the building to practice this morning. I think, generally throughout the entire organization, there’s an excitement that comes with opening night.”
It’s never been a better time to be a sports fan in Detroit with the Tigers reaching the American League Championship Series and the Lions kicking off the NFL season with a 4-0 record for the first time since 1980. The Red Wings are the only pro sports team in town that consistently reaches the postseason, having won four Stanley Cup titles in the last 14 seasons.
And we’re just hours away from lifting the curtain on a new season for the city’s most-successful sports franchise as it heads back to work.
“The Red Wings are such a powerful brand that has been successful for so long, and we have the greatest fans in the NHL,” Mattina said. “And it’s awesome that the Tigers are winning, and it’s awesome for the City of Detroit that the Detroit Lions are doing fantastic.”
So how will Mattina judge whether or not tonight’s game was a hit with fans?
“You know it’s successful by the energy of the crowd," he said. "It’s all about the fans, and as long as the fans have smiles on their faces and you see high-energy in this building. ... And obviously, capping off with a Red Wings’ win will be fantastic.”
Sounds like a win-win for everyone!