The Overall Experience

My experience with the Worcester Sharks was very helpful and interesting. I learned about all the different, important parts that go into a maintaining a successful sports organization, and it helped better direct my future career aspirations based on these observations. I am so grateful I got to meet a lot of nice people who love sports as much as I do. It was a great opportunity to make connections in the sports industry; you never know what these connections can lead to in the future. I learned that it is important to show enthusiasm, work ethic, and a good attitude in everything asked of you, as it is definitely noticed by others, just as bad attitudes and laziness are. Academically, I was able to apply my communications and public relations courses into my internship, as both were used on a daily basis by the organization. I went into this internship knowing I wanted to work in sports but not really knowing what I want to do within that. So I had an open mind in observing what careers I could see myself doing in the future, and what I would be good at.  I found that the public relations and  game day operations were much more of something I would want to do opposed to marketing and sales. I want to be involved in the games, the team, and the actual sport of hockey, since that is where my dedication and interest lies. To make sure, I am starting the public relations internship with the Worcester Sharks for the 2014 fall semester where I will be much more involved in the things I am interested in and get much more responsibility, such as writing press releases, game recaps and other articles for the Worcester Sharks website, which I think I will very much enjoy.

As far as the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the internship, I think I achieved them. I believe I did a good job of representing myself as an eager, hardworking, and dedicated individual that would be a good addition to this sports organization and industry. I took every job seriously and tried to exceed expectations by offering to come in to work extra hours, sometimes working 12 hour days, and consistently asking for more responsibility and for other ways to make the staff’s jobs easier while maintaining the Worcester Sharks’ mission statement.

Like most things, this internship did differ from my high expectations I established going into it. I wish interns were given a more thorough introduction to how the organization works and were given opportunities to discuss any ideas or input we might have had. We really did not get to come up with anything ourselves, and just did what the staff wanted us to do- mainly data entry. I did not get to write anything or do any kind of academic assignment, which I wanted to do.  Also, I wish the office was a little less cliquey and a tiny bit more professional. I was surprised at how laid back the environment was at first. Also, our particular group of interns were not all great workers and we were often scolded by our supervisor, which made him not too fond of us. This made interactions with him rather uncomfortable and unpredictable. However overall, this was a fun and interesting internship that I am very grateful I got to do and I am excited to continue into the summer and fall. For any students looking to pursue a career in sports, I would recommend this internship to them, as you learn a lot about what goes into operating and maintaining a sports organization.

Codes of Conduct

As I have mentioned before, the Worcester Sharks maintains a relatively laid back, yet still professional working environment, therefore they do not follow any formal codes of conduct that I am aware of; however, after reading the codes of conduct and ethics put forth by the Public Relations Society of America and American Marketing Society, they do adhere to basic codes of ethics and conduct. The Worcester Sharks staff are very clearly dedicated to good customer service, community involvement, giving back, and providing a great overall experience to it’s fans, with honesty, diligence, and creativity. Their number one priority is the fans and being a respectable organization. From what I have noticed, these ethical codes of conduct are fulfilled by all the members of the Worcester Sharks organization.

Tasks/Assignments and Educational Implications

At the beginning of this internship, I was assigned to the Kids Club during games and did not do anything , I thought, of any importance or help during my office hours. After a few weeks of this I felt I learned everything I could from Kids Club and wanted to experience more tasks that were more challenging and contributed to the success of game-days. I talked to my supervisor and communicated to him my intentions and goals of my internship and told him I felt I could handle more responsibility and wanted to accomplish more challenging tasks so I could get the most out of my time there. Since then, during my office hours I help write and assemble the scripts for the Worcester Sharks announcer, and I have been assigned something different for every game day. I also love doing Youth Hockey, and after being assigned to do on-ice Youth Hockey judging twice, I asked to always be staffed for it, even though it requires coming in 4 hours earlier, and asked to switch with other interns to do it. By asking for more responsibility and proving my desire to be there and strong work-ethic, they asked me to come back for the summer, and I accepted. I also plan on returning next semester as a public relations intern with greatly increased duties, responsibilities, and opportunities.

Out of all of my WSU communications classes, the one that has applied the most is my Public Relations course. I have interacted with a lot of clients as well as staff and learning the methods to best handle any situations good or bad in the workplace has been extremely helpful; it particularly emphasizes preparedness and communication skills which is a very important aspect to this job.

Preliminary Evaluation of Internship Experience    

As I am entering the mid-point of this internship, I have already grasped a much deeper and encompassing idea of how sports organizations work. I am actively witnessing all of the many important aspects that contribute the success of the Worcester Sharks as a thriving  business, and what all of it’s staff do to keep it in such a standing. As a result of learning this, I have shaped by expectations to what I can do to help this process as well as what I want for my future career in sports.

My work ethic is something I proud of, that I take it very seriously, so any job I am assigned I will do whole-heatedly and to the best of my abilities, no matter what it is or entails. However, I really love this internship and environment and very much enjoy being there and feel it is important to leave a good impression on my superiors for future work endeavors, encouraging me to take my responsibilities at this organization even more seriously, and are something I want to accomplish in the most efficient way possible. I have asked for more responsibility from my supervisor so he understands I want to go above and beyond what is required and expected of a normal intern. Although as of now, I have very similar responsibilities to other interns, I am hoping to be granted more opportunities that will help me gain an even better understanding of the sports industry and my place in it.

Organization Hierarchy, Management Structure, Communication Method

The structure of the Worcester Sharks is relatively informal. On the lower tier of the hierarchy are the Ticket Specialists and Account Executives; on the next tier is the Game Day Operations & Marketing Coordinator (Keith Burkinshaw), Community Events Coordinator, and Corporate Sales Executive; the next third highest tier includes Marketing Manager, Finance & Ticket Operations Manager, Merchandise Manager, and Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting; on the second highest tier, who are a little more formal are the Senior Director of Business & Community Development, and the Senior of Sales & Marketing; and on the highest tier, who I have never come in contact with, are the General Manager & Alternate Governor, and Vice President & Alternate Governor.

The office setting is extremely laid back and informal,which makes for a great working environment. However, I have noticed that because the atmosphere is so laid-back, it can lead to communication issues, especially during games. During office hours, interns man the front desk as secretaries and when people come in, we contact the person in the office that can help them. Usually communication is solid between clients and Worcester Sharks staff. It is amongst the staff where issues arise. For example the new marketing manager asked me to call a list of organizations asking if we could send them a flyer for an upcoming promotion. After calling about 20 of the organizations, half of them said they have already been contacted. A sales account executive then told me she already contacted most of the people on the list, yet did not tell the marketing manager. This inevitably disrupts the efficiency of the organization and causes unnecessary problems.  During games everyone communicates via walkie-talkie and things generally run smoothly, however once again, lack of communication amongst staff can result in avoidable issues that would not happen if they communicated before-hand. I have heard staff on multiple occasions complain about this problem, saying that no one tells each other anything- so the problem is well-known however no one seems to be taking proactive steps to remedy it. However, many of the staff is new, so hopefully these communication issues will become less and less with each season, the longer people have been there.

Organization/Personal Goals of Internship

Ideally, I would like to get a job for the Worcester Sharks, or even the San Jose Sharks, so I have many goals and standards set for myself during this internship. I want to experience as much as I can, and try as many jobs as possible so I can see what I am best at, and just get a taste of everything that goes on in this organization. I want to learn how sports organizations operate on game days and in the office, and what makes them successful, and what can cause problems. The job description put forth for interns by the Worcester Sharks entails data entry, fulfilling donation requests, helping create new marketing plans, helping with the organization of all team-based community programs and initiatives, researching and developing new promotional ideas, writing game summaries, researching statistics for home and away radio/television broadcasters, helping set up pre and post-game events, servicing concourse activities, helping in-arena host with all in game promotions and contests, assisting with the execution of concourse activities, and promoting a positive fan experience; all of which I tend to go above and beyond in achieving.

The Organization and it’s Mission

The Worcester Sharks is a professional hockey team apart of the American Hockey League. It is an affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. It is located on 50 Foster Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608 at the DCU Center. Telephone number: (508) 755-6800; fax number: (508) 929-0111; website address: www.sharksahl.com. My mentor/supervisor is Keith Burkinshaw; his cell phone number: (508) 942-6533.  The Worcester Sharks mission statement is “The Worcester Sharks are devoted to providing, in the most fiscally responsible manner, the highest quality sports and entertainment events to the New England community and beyond, through commitment to customer service, community involvement and dedication to excellence. We are dedicated to building a premier team in the American Hockey League that will perennially contend for the Calder Cup championship and develop future players for the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks.” It provides fun, interactive, memorable, and family-friendly entertainment for all fans, whether for life-long hockey fans or first-time attendees, the Worcester Sharks are a great organization for people of all ages and interests.