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article imageThe business of hockey Special

By Moushumi Chakrabarty     Jan 13, 2015 in Sports
Canadian hockey enthusiast? Business background? Wishing there was a way to combine these two into a career? Welcome to a program that will allow you to do just that.
The brand new Executive Hockey MBA pioneered by Athabasca University (AU) in partnership with the Business of Hockey Institute (BHI) promises to take sports management education to a completely new level.
Academic Director of BHI, Michael K. Mauws thinks the time is ripe for a more nuanced, yet robust MBA program that showcases the national sport of Canada. “It is worth noting that there are already numerous sport management programs in existence, but none that focus specifically on hockey,” he pointed out.
Given the changing nature of professional sports today, it is not enough just to have solid players. The business of the sport is equally crucial since it determines the continuance and success of the franchise and brand. Focusing on the business side of the sport, this online MBA program marries the individual strengths of two institutions in a bid to produce savvy hockey managers.
“This partnership is an explicit recognition of the growing sophistication of the business of hockey. Hockey franchises may only be competing with other hockey franchises on the ice, but they are also competing with other sports franchises and other entertainment options when it comes to consumers' discretionary income. So if hockey franchises are to survive, the talent in the office needs to be as good as the talent on the ice.
The partnership with AU is important because it allows us to leverage a well-established online executive MBA program. Given the geographical and intra-industry mobility within this group, the program has to be delivered online. Back in 1994, AU was the first university in the world to offer an online executive MBA. So by working with AU, we simply need to provide the hockey content and personnel and AU can take care of everything else,” he noted.
Clearly there is an attempt being made to tailor a graduate management program which addresses the challenge of sustainability of the game in an increasingly competitive arena.
“Hockey’s future cannot be taken for granted. At the professional level, hockey is competing directly with other professional sports and indirectly with countless other entertainment options. At the amateur level, hockey is competing with other sports and, just as importantly, struggling with safety issues, aging infrastructure, and the perception that it isn’t affordable. If hockey is going to thrive, the talent in the C-suite needs to be just as good as the talent on the ice. This program is intended to make that happen,” explained Chris McLeod, Director, Marketing & Communications, Faculty of Business, AU.
He pointed out that the program is aimed at managerial-level candidates, within the pro and semi-pro franchises and leagues, as well as allied industries. Being an Executive MBA program, it is well suited for busy managers.
“There is tremendous flexibility for each student in terms of the days of the week and/or time of day they choose to participate. Our learning environment supports participation in course discussions from any place in the world. Many of our students attend to their studies while on airplanes, in hotel rooms, before or after meetings” he said.
Only 32 students are to be admitted into this elite program, and applications will be accepted from February 1 to March 15, 2015.
More about Hockey, Athabasca University, MBA, Business, Canadian
 
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