USA Hockey Magazine

June / July 2018

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JUNE/JULY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 51 including the Travis Roy and the Skate for the 22 Foundations. "There are a lot of great causes to give to along with providing equip- ment to help introduce hockey to kids who may not have the oppor- tunity we had," MacKinlay said. "There are a lot of different things to do and there is just so much to be done." H P I B g r e w s t e a d i l y s i n c e i t s inception in July 2016, with a mas- sive membership increase coming in late 2017 after the group merged w i t h S t . L o u i s - b a s e d H o c k e y Players Doing Business Together, a Linked In social networking group. That merger created an organi- zation with 41,000-plus members worldwide through its free Linked In group, which serves as a feed- er program for paid membership group, which hopes to reach 1,000 members by year's end. The benefits of paid member- ship (tax deductible $50 a year) include access to an international database organized by location and career along with standing invitations to all regional, nation- al and global HPIB events. The m e m b e r s h i p c r i t e r i a i s h a v i n g played at least one year of hockey a t a ny l e v e l a n d b e w o r k i n g o r seeking employment. There are currently eight chap- ters—Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Toledo—with 10 more on the way. The group hopes to even- tually have a chapter in every major North American city. "It will take some time but there is enough interest," said Shannon Lewandoski, the founder of Hockey Players Doing Business Together, w h o d e c i d e d h i s g r o u p c o u l d accomplish more by joining forces with HPIB. "Linked In is a great place to con- nect, but I had no idea [HPDBT] would grow to that size when it first started," said Lewandoski, who now serves as the organiza- tion's co-president. "The way Rob designed the organization to give back to the game was a win-win. We had done a few [networking ] events in St. Louis, but if you don't meet face to face, nothing will real- ly get done." The chance to give back to the game they love is the most appeal- ing aspects of the organization, he added. "[Hockey] is a fairly strong sport b u t t h e r e i s s o m u c h r o o m f o r growth," he said. "There are 5 to 6-year-olds who have not expe- rienced playing hockey. We want to help make sure they have that opportunity everywhere." Each chapter holds quarterly n et w o r k i n g e ve n t s, s o m et i m e s partnering with local pro teams s u c h a s t h e A m e r i c a n H o c k e y L e a g u e 's C l e v e l a n d f r a n c h i s e and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Monsters g eneral manag er Bill Zito and Columbus team presi- dent John Davidson both spoke at recent gatherings. " I t w a s r e a l l y i m p a c t f u l , " M a c K i n l a y s a i d . " T h e y w e r e incredibly supportive and did a lot of things on their website. It is a win-win-win for everyone there, the NHL, and a win for the game." " I go t o a lot of net work i ng event s a nd out of t he 50 or so people there, you hope to come across t wo to three people you me e t a nd h a v e s ome t h i n g t o build on," he added. "Everyone coming to the event already has something in common—having played hockey. We thought there would be a benefit getting these people together whether they a re a CEO or a k id rig ht out of college. The networking is very meaningful and fun." The organization owes part of its genesis to the 20,000-mem- b e r W r e s t l e r s i n B u s i n e s s g r o u p, w h i c h w a s d e v e l o p e d after the International Olympic Committee considered eliminat- ing the sport from its Summer Games lineup. "Some of the best ideas are stolen," MacKinlay joked. "The idea is a sound one," said former NHL player Kevin Dahl, who also serves as HPIB vice president. "There are a lot of opportu- nities when you make the tran- sition from playing to the busi- ness world with the contacts you develop over time," said Dahl, who played his college hockey at Bowling Green State University. "But knowing where to go and who to turn to is the challenge. This has the potential to be help- ful especially as it spreads to more North American cities." P Joe Paisley is a freelance writer based out of Colorado Springs, Colo. Hockey Networking USA "Everyone coming to the event already has something in common—having played hockey. We thought there would be a benefit getting these people together whether they are a CEO or a kid right out of college. The networking is very meaningful and fun." – ROB MACKINLAY, founder of Hockey Players In Business BOSTON CLEVELAND LOS ANGELES ST. LOUIS COLUMBUS DETROIT PITTSBURGH TOLEDO There are currently eight active chapters of the Hockey Players In Business group with plans to expand into every major market in North America. The growth of the Hockey Players in Business group is a true testament to teamwork, as Robert MacKinley's organization merged with Shannon Lewandoski's Hockey Players Doing Business Together organization. The combined efforts cater to players of all skill levels, including Kevin Dahl, left, who played parts of eight NHL seasons after graduating from Bowling Green State University.

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