I thought about running this in the paper as a story sometime, but I think it works better here. These are the 10 commandments plus one I've learned from being around a minor league team for 20 years. Take this list for what it's worth. You might even want to add to it.
1. Hire a good public relations director and don't go cheap and just hire some kid right out of school. He or she will be worth the cost because they will keep your fans and media busy. In the same vein, don't expect or depend on the media to be your marketing arm. That's not their job. They don't work for you. At the same time, get the bad news when it happens out to the public as quickly as possible and move on.
2. Spend money on a good mascot. It's part of game presentation and the better the costume and athlete wearing it, the bigger the impact.
3. Ask for advice from other owners. The worst thing about minor league sports is that every owner seems to have to make the same mistakes instead of learning from the miscues of others. Rockford? Quad City? Those were stupid, stupid mistakes that anyone with any perspective could have predicted and did.
4. Run it as a business not as a hobby. It's entertainment 10 times more than it's a sporting event.
5. Don't be a jock sniffer as an owner. You can be friendly with the players but not friends. You are the boss, not just the guy who buys the beer. You are no longer a fan.
7. Let the coaches be coaches, but supervise them. No matter how much you may think you know hockey, you don't know nearly as much as someone who lives it every hour of every day and has for 20 years. You don't run the team, but by the same token, don't let them run the organization.
8. Become part of the community fabric. Everything your players and staff do off the ice is equally if not more important than what they do off the ice. Take your players to schools, then do it again and then do it again. Every year.
9. Treat season ticket holders and sponsors as owners. That means show them respect. Sponsors also have a responsibility to the team with their investment and their respect.
10. Hire good support people such as trainers and equipment managers to take care of the players. The happier the players are, the better, and that doesn't happen everywhere. And value your off-ice officials because they can make you look very good or very bad.
11. Worry about your product, not what's going on around it with high school or college sports, NFL football, NASCAR races or whatever. There's never been a perfect schedule that didn't have some conflicts with something. It all depends on how you market the team, not what their schedule is.