Roadrunners Town Hall Highlights

This week, Roadrunners Team President Bob Hoffman, Head Coach Jay Varady and Manager of Ticket Sales Julie Sipe joined up to answer questions from Season Ticket Members in a Roadrunners Town Hall. Below are some of the highlights.

Question from Mark
For: Head Coach Jay Varady

What have been some highlights, some key moments from the hockey club that you as the Head Coach have looked at, appreciated and really admired from the group?

I would have to say our start, I thought we got off to a pretty hot start and we got rolling there for a period of time. We were able to stay right atop of that Pacific Division even though it ebbed and flowed there for a period of time. I thought over the last couple of weeks, our game started to pick up again.

Question from Kathleen N
For: Team President Bob Hoffman

How do games being suspended now affect things going into the 2020-2021 season?

We’ll be really happy to see everybody again and get our family back together. There are a lot of discussions going on at all levels among all leagues, there’s not a league out there that’s figured this out. When it comes to the American Hockey League and what we’re looking to do, it really comes down to the medical communities’ advice, it comes down to safety and what we can do to put on an entertaining event at our venue. There is definite planning to get way out in front of this so that we can have a complete and full 2020-2021 season. There’s hope, be aware and be watching what’s happening and as safety continues to move more and more to the forefront, that creates that opportunity in some capacity to open the doors to the Tucson Arena and bring our fans back in.

Question from Doug
For: Head Coach Jay Varady

What growth did you see from our second year players this year that were rookies last season?

Maturity, we saw a lot of their games picking up at the end of their first year. Brayden Burke as an all-star this year, leads our team in a number of categories and I think his game really matured as he went along offensively. Tyler Steenbergen is another player and his reliability defensively really continued to show and we relied on him in a lot of situations. Kelly Klima just added a lot every night. He added energy for us, when we needed a shot in the arm, he was there for us, when we needed a key goal he scored a couple of those for us this year; a player who found his role on the team even as we progressed this year. Jordan Gross played his first NHL game this year as a defenseman in the organization, I thought that was a huge for accomplishment for him. He was a player who was used in all situations, almost more than anybody else and we counted on him a ton every night. Whether it was on the power-play, penalty-killing, against team’s top players; he did a lot of really good things for us. Just to name a few players there.

Question from Kathleen S
For: Team President Bob Hoffman

What measures are being taken and looked into as we adjust here for Roadrunners games and public events at the TCC?

We’ll work with the city, work with the arena to come up with numerous different things to put  in place so fans feel safe. I can’t talk specifically about anything that we’d implement yet. But in the industry, it’s been amazing to see the innovations of different people. Sometimes a crisis like this will really bring innovation out. There definitely can be some benefits that come of this as far as the experience goes. There are some things, again not specific to the Roadrunners, being talked about in sports so that our fans have the absolute complete feeling of safety when they come to a Roadrunners game.

Question from Vern
For: Head Coach Jay Varady

What about our veteran players that returned this year and also joined us this year made them such good fits for the organization?

As a whole, they’re a really good unit. Michael Chaput being our captain and growing into that role. He spends a lot of time listening to what the players have to say and does a really good job of carrying the coaches’ message too. A player may have a question in the dressing room, “why are we doing this, why are we doing that, questions about our travel” and from his experience with the organization, with our coaching staff he was able to answer a lot of those questions and that’s what leadership does and guys like Andy Miele, Robbie Russo, Hudson Fasching, Beau Bennett; those guys answer a lot of questions that you don’t even know about and those guys really buying into the process is important.

Question from Ysette
For: Manager of Ticket Sales Julie Sipe

Have we discussed fan interactions and player events and if they’d be handled differently after this pandemic?

We have to be very careful going into next season that we’re complying with guidelines from health officials and making it safe for our fans. That being said, we’ve been very lucky the last few years with how accessible our players have been at this level and in this league. Our fans have built a very strong connection with those players, just being able to have that access. It’s very important for us to maintain that relationship and find ways for our players to connect with the players. It’s so important to the franchise, to Tucson and to our season ticket holders to have those items.

Question from John
For: Ticket Sales Manager Julie Sipe

Are there any ways the organization is looking to capitalize on the fifth season in Tucson?

We’re really excited about our fifth season in Tucson, we have a lot of fun plans for it and thanks to those who participated in our online promotions bracket that helped with some ideas. I think what you’ll see is a great mix of the old and the new. Unfortunately, we’ve had a break in games, but it’s actually given us time to come up with some up with the great things. For our fifth anniversary specifically, we’re looking to do a special logo that will be featured at center ice, special jerseys and merchandise. We’re really looking forward to it.

Question from Ryan
For: Team President Bob Hoffman

Any plans to add any other amenities, additional video boards, any other elements inside the arena at the TCC to enhance fan experience?

There’s always conversations happening. There’s a lot of different things happening on this campus. Last summer, we got a new ice plant. A lot of fans weren’t aware of that. Fans by the end of December, we are going to see a brand new parking garage in Lot A. We’re always looking at new experiences in the arena, different things that we can try and make the experience better and how we’re always looking to evolve with the Tucson Arena. And it’s great have the support of the city, Rio Nuevo who manages the district here and ASM who manages the Convention Center. With all of the construction happening and all of the improvements, when you see what this is going to be here on the campus in the next two years and then three years; it’s really going to be an amazing area and really solidify the growth and redevelopment  of downtown.