An Off the Ice Discussion with Blackhawks Senior Management


by Maci Killman

Two of Chicago Blackhawks’ senior executives, Vice President of Finance, T.J. Skattum, and Manager of Marketing, Brian Dahm spoke on campus Jan. 23rd, for the College of Business Global Speaker Series.  They gave CUC students an insider’s look at the Blackhawks and how they operate “off the ice.” Both hired to the organization in 2008, Skattum and Dahm described their jobs and how the “One Goal” campaign has evolved in the last decade.

Skattum, who leads the accounting and finance departments, described how the organization has seen fast increases in the last ten years in fan growth, ticket revenue, and sponsorship dollars. Skattum emphasized that the Blackhawks organization works as a team. He makes sure he is on the same page with the other departments by sitting in on their department meetings. It’s a way to prepare oneself for work that may or may not end up on the desk, Skattum said. He added that it might sound like a cliché but “communication is vital.”

Dahm originally started out as intern ten years ago. He was hired into the sponsorship team, and worked his way into the management position with the marketing department.  Dahm works closely with his advertising, branding, and media buying colleagues.

Aside from “consistent excellence” on the ice, and winning six Stanley Cup Championships, the Chicago Blackhawks is one of the first National Hockey League teams to reach two million Twitter followers. These days the social media plays a huge part in the Blackhawk’s marketing efforts and the Digital Marketing department has grown from one person to 12 in the last few years. Dahm showed examples from Twitter and other social media videos to illustrate how he takes one idea and pulls it though social media to build presence and awareness.

A good example of this is the “One Goal” campaign. The “One Goal” campaign, led by the President of the Blackhawks, John McDonough, originally started with players skating up to a mic to state their goal for the season. Fast forward ten years to now, and the “One Goal” campaign has turned into an engaging “call and response with the fan base,” as described by Dahm. The Blackhawks invite participation through social media where fans talk about their own “One Goal.”  The Blackhawks use Twitter as a strong source to reach out to fans for a response to add to the campaign videos. Aside from building motivational and emotional “One Goal” campaign videos, it helps connect with fans on a deeper level and show a personal side to the organization.

Dahm said that the impact is that, these days, there is “not much separation between the organization and the players, and our fan base.”

“One Goal” campaign videos such as “What is your rink?” can be found on Twitter with the hashtag #OneGoal or by scrolling through the @NHLBlackhawks twitter account, or YouTube account, bhtv.