Monday, February 13, 2012

On the 2012 AHL Outdoor Classic

The highlight of my past three months with the Hamilton Bulldogs has got to be the delightfully successful organization of the 2012 AHL Outdoor Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium on January 20-21.

It was a whirlwind of an event, from planning and preparation to putting on both game days to the wrap-up and all the follow-up needed to ensure that the event was truly successful. A once-in-a-lifetime affair to remember.

My daily to-do list was so extensive, it was hard to imagine that I would ever get through it all. That the day would ever arrive. Eventually, I did, of course, and it did. But it wasn't an easy process. The cameras made it look amazing, but a lot of work went into creating what you saw if you watched the broadcast on Sportsnet or on the NHL Network. A lot of sleepless nights, too, which lead to frustrating conversations in office hallways. But at the end of every overwhelming day, we were all friends again.

In the end, it was all worth it.

It took me until mid-way through the second period of Saturday's game between the Bulldogs and the Toronto Marlies to realize that we'd actually done it. We had put on an Outdoor Classic. All the accreditations had been beautifully designed, assembled, properly distributed; press releases written, spellchecked, printed, sent; food ordered, placed, consumed. Media happy in the press box? Check! Media requests were planned, unplanned, re-planned. Broadcasters accommodated? Check!

Somehow, through all the madness, it all went flawlessly. I still cannot truly understand how that happened. I don't know if I even believe that it did. From the beginning of my time with the 'Dogs, it was all Outdoor Classic all the time. Oh, and, you know, normal everyday regular season activities too. But still, through it all, the focus was the Outdoor Classic. And then, just like that, in 48 hours, it was done. All wrapped up in a pretty little winter package and sent off to live in posterity in the memories of the thousands of fans who populated the stands, and the thousands more who watched it on TV.

Wow. We did it.

I am so proud of our team for putting this on. I am so happy and excited and fortunate to have been a part of this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event. And I am absolutely ecstatic at all the positive feedback we received from members of the media, league officials, fans... Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous.

Thank you all for being a part of it, in your little ways. Whether you attended, watched, participated in helping me brainstorm or listened to my late night rants... Thank you. You were all part of the success of this event. And I couldn't have done it without you.


Jason Nason said...

You truly did a fantastic job, Naila. Congratulations on a successful event and I'm glad you made it through. :)

Naila J. said...

Thanks Jason! :)