Canadiens General Manager Highlights All-Star Lineup at JMSM14

Habs GM Marc Bergevin Among Highlights of Sports Marketing Conference at Concordia

  • Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (middle) took part in “The Decision Makers” panel at JMSM14, alongside TSN insider Darren Dreger (left) and Tampa Bay Lightning assistant general manager Julien Brisebois (right) on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. Photo MANNY

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is an extremely busy man who has little time to spare during his team’s 82-game regular season schedule. You may catch him on television for the occasional interview, but otherwise he’s working tirelessly at building a winning hockey club and continuing to restore its image.

However, the GM was able to find time to attend the 19th edition of the John Molson Sports Marketing Business Conference at Concordia and give advice to business students, share a coffee with participants and take photos with fans.

“There are so many ambitious young people here who would like to be seated at my place one day,” Bergevin told The Link. “So if I can help them by sharing my personal experiences, then it’s a pleasure for me to do so.”

Bergevin was among the many guests who took part in this year’s event, joining Tampa Bay Lightning assistant general manager Julien Brisebois and TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger for a panel discussion titled The Decision Makers on Friday afternoon at the D.B. Clarke Theatre.

JMSM14 also hosted such high-profile sports executives as former Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports agent Don Meehan and Kerry Bubolz, the president of business operations for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Journalists Elliotte
Friedman of the CBC and John Lu of TSN were also present, but the Habs GM was clearly the main attraction for many at the event.

“[Having] Bergevin is huge for us,” said JMSM executive vice president Paul Santache. “[It will be] so big for our committee in the future, because when you reach out to speakers in the following years and they look back and see that [Bergevin] has been here, [Colletti] has been here, it really legitimizes us as a committee and it’s going to help us for years to come.

“There are so many ambitious young people here who would like to be seated at my place one day, so if I can help them by sharing my personal experiences, then it’s a pleasure for me to do so.”– Montreal
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin

“Every year we try to up the content and the number of people that get involved in the conference. Hopefully next year we’ll get a bigger room than this and we can fill that out as well,” he continued. “Obviously there are a lot of problems that come with that because we are a student-run committee and we don’t necessarily have all the funds that you might expect.”

Funding is something that the JMSM committee already does pretty well, since they’re able to offer participants full access to the three-day event, transportation to venues and three nights at a hotel for only $350 (or $250 for a hotel-free option).

“This is the first year that we’ve introduced the single-day tickets passes [ranging from $25 to $60],” Santache added, explaining that the new measure was introduced for students who might not want to attend all the events.

This year JMSM14 also welcomed students from the United States, a first for the conference, as the organizers wish to get more exposure for the event.

“This is the first year that we’ve had any success in [getting delegates from the USA],” said JMSM director of recruitment Mike Clement. “I think we’re really close to having a lot more. There were a few schools that were on the edge of sending buses full of students.”

JMSM also offered, for the first time, a discussion on the business dealings of the National Collegiate Athletic Association—the United States’s equivalent to Canadian Interuniversity Sport—featuring athletic directors from the University of Pittsburgh and Miami and a professor from Rutgers University.

“It’s nice to hear from the people who are behind the scenes. You see everything on TV but there’s a lot more that goes into it,” said Jeremy Vautour, an economics student from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

With the ever-growing list of panels and invited guests, there’s no reason to believe that the conference won’t continue to grow and improve for its 20th anniversary next year.

“Before coming to Montreal I was reading the names of the people that were going to be here to my friends and they were regretting not coming,” said Vautour. “I think that a lot of them will regret [not coming] even more after I tell them about the experience I had here this weekend.”

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