The Nashville Predators’ new ownership announced big changes to the team’s leadership.
Ed Lang was named president of business operations and David Poile was named president of hockey operations, retaining the title of general manager.
Big as it turns out also means familiar. That ultimately could help sell tickets and ingratiate the team management more with the local business community.
David Freeman, the point man for the owners, had already made it known that Poile would be kept. Lang, who along with Poile has been with the team since the beginning, had a bit of question mark on his future here.
Lang, the team’s chief financial officer, wanted to stay and turned down an opportunity to go back to Wisconsin with former Predators owner Craig Leipold. Lang likes Nashville.
He broke away after 21 years with Leipold or companies owned by Leiplod’s in-laws, S.C. Johnson and Son.
Freeman and the new owners decided they didn’t need to look beyond the team for leadership.
“Ed has as much experience of anyone we could have found around the NHL,” Freeman said.
There is a belief in the business community here that Leipold should have bumped Lang up and organized the team this way when Jack Diller left as president a couple of years ago. Poile and Lang reported to Diller.
Steve Violetta had been brought in as an executive vice president to run marketing and advertising, effectively creating a three-headed beast to run the team. Violetta just went to work with the Detroit Red Wings.
Lang is pretty well known in the business community. He serves as a board member on the Adventure Science Center. There, he has rubbed elbows with many of the business leaders who also are involved with the Nashville chamber and the effort to save the Predators.
So in a certain respect, he’s been accepted into the business circles. Now, he has the opportunity to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight more.
The first area where he could make a mark is hiring a marketing and advertising person, an area that has draw criticism in many circles.
“Ed’s the kind of guy who delegates effectively,” one business leader said.
That means, expect a strong marketing person.
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