If you are looking to make an online purchase from NHL.com or one of the 30 NHL team websites, then you can appreciate the work of Brian Fitzgerald. Having worked in the licensed product business for the last nine years, Fitzgerald claims he stumbled into this position with the NHL. “It’s kind of one of those, right-place, right-time great story scenarios.”
While he may try to be humble in his approach, make no mistake that Fitzgerald paid his dues on his way to the Director of Commerce and Development for the National Hockey League. A lengthy title for the position he simply states is the director of e-commerce.
With a marketing degree from St. Bonaventure in 1992, Fitzgerald immediately entered the work force as a Sales Rep for ADP. A year later, Brian took a job with a company called Cushion Craft. “My first sports job out of college was for a small sports company who had a niche product line of pillows, bean bags and banners. The owners weren’t really sports fans and they needed a sports marketing guy.”
Being a fan of sports and coming from a family with a sales background proved to be the perfect combination for the position of Sales and Marketing Licensing Manager that Cushion Craft needed to fill. Fitzgerald was ready to take the products to a new level.
“It was one of those jobs that wasn’t a big-time corporate job. They were a small company that gave me a lot of opportunity to grow and work with them hand in hand,” said Brian. “Learning how to run a business, manage a business, and the sales side, I kind of took the bull by the horns. I worked the relationship side and in the span of a couple of years, we had relationships with all the leagues.”
Those relationships were the launch pad for Fitzgerald to land where he is today, but not after helping make Cushion Craft a multi-million dollar business.
“We hit some major home runs with some retailers from Penny’s to K-mart, to Target to Kohl’s, and before we knew ...
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