Sports and event marketing graduate Adrienne Middlebrook went to GBC to break through in her industry
High-definition Sportsnet cameras are stationed all along the hockey arena in anticipation.
The championship game has all the fans in attendance nervous for the action that’s about to commence.
The teams are chock-full of young superstars in the making, and their whole season comes down to one final game for the championship in downtown Toronto.
It’s not the Toronto Maple Leafs fans are here for, but rather a game between the top minor midget-class players in Ontario as they battle for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Cup.
Watching it all from the crowd is one of the key organizers of the tournament, the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s (GTHL) manager of communications, Adrienne Middlebrook.
Middlebrook, who graduated from George Brown College’s (GBC) post-graduate sports and event marketing program in 2016, is now helping to oversee the tournament that spotlights some of hockey’s upcoming stars.
“I wanted to pursue a career in hockey more specifically,” she said. “I was already working in hockey at a skating school, but couldn’t seem to break further into the industry. That’s when I decided to go to George Brown,” she said.
The GBC grad is currently responsible for all aspects of the GTHL’s website, social media platforms, email newsletters and the project management of Breakout Magazine, using the skills and teachings from professors at George Brown.
The tournament takes the top teams of OHL draft eligible hockey players and pits them against one another in a grueling week-long tournament.
Peter Widdis, a sports and event marketing professor at GBC, is enthusiastic about the merger and the potential it creates.
“It’s partnerships like this that add that much more credibility to both hockey league brands,” said Widdis. “The positive image transfer that happens mutually between the OHL and GTHL enriches their credibility and marketability to all stakeholders; fans, players, sponsors and community,” said Widdis.
Widdis had nothing but praise for his former student already making an impact in the industry at the amateur sports level.
“Adrienne was a true leader in and out of the classroom,” said Widdis. “Her tremendous vision and drive to succeed in the sport and event marketing industry, especially the business of hockey, is exemplary. Adrienne is one to watch for her work on the GTHL brand.”
“I learned a lot at GBC,” said Middlebrook. “How to effectively do a presentation was one which I credit in getting my job. How to properly network and make a connection was another big one,” she said.
The smaller staff that Middlebrook was working with at the tournament ensured that she was putting her training and skills to the test. Getting through the tournament meant going above and beyond.
Middlebrook said the entire week was nonstop. Staff would show up to start the day at 9 a.m. and would stay until the last game, which would be around 11 p.m.
“You get into a rhythm and just keep going,” she said.
The tournament final was a very close game. After the Toronto Nationals tied it up at 2-2 with 2:12 remaining in the third period, the game appeared to be headed to overtime. But Mississauga Reps forward Dennis Golovatchev fired the puck past Nationals’ goaltender Zach Roy for the game winning goal with nine seconds remaining.
Well after the Reps defeated the Nationals, and the on-ice pictures with parents and family were over, Middlebrook could be found helping to pack up all the equipment to be brought back that same evening.
For Middlebrook this season will remain special since it was the first year that she told the story of the top minor hockey players in the country’s largest league.
For the next few years she intends to follow along with a watchful eye as this group moves on to pursue their professional hockey aspirations.