Students bond, network at 'Elon Night with the Hurricanes'

Carol Pyszkowski’s capstone project, supported by the Premier Sport and Event Society, provided more than 40 Elon University students an inside look into the professional sports and arena management industries.

More than 40 students participated in “Elon Night with the Hurricanes," visiting with members of the Carolina Hurricanes’ management team on Nov. 12 and attending that evening's hockey contest. Photos courtesy of Craig Schmitt
​To hear Elon University senior Carol Pyszkowski explain her capstone project, titled “Elon Night with the Hurricanes,” her efforts weren’t about the product on the ice, but rather the four years’ worth of relationships she’s built on campus and at her summer internship.

In advance of the Carolina Hurricanes’ Nov. 12 home contest against the Minnesota Wild, 41 Elon students – the majority of them sport and event management majors – visited and spoke with professional staff members of the NHL team and PNC Arena. The evening’s topics ranged from day-to-day operations and crisis management to sales and hiring processes. 

While the event was presented by Elon’s Premier Sport and Event Society, a student-run organization for individuals interested in the sport and event management industry, Pyszkowski, PSES co-president, served as its lead organizer.

“This event was my capstone so the goal was to integrate everything I’ve been involved with and give back to my mentors,” said Pyszkowski, a sport and event management major. “This past summer I interned with the sales staff for the Carolina Hurricanes and absolutely loved working with the organization. I have also been close with my professors over my four years here and wanted to provide opportunities for both parties.”

Members of the Hurricanes’ management staff speak with Elon students and faculty members, highlighting issues relating to day-to-day operations, crisis management and hiring processes.
​Pyszkowski rattled off a series of benefits of the event, noting it was a chance for Elon faculty and students and her internship mentors to network and build relationships. It also provided her Hurricanes colleagues a new college market with new ticket leads. And, not to be overlooked, the evening was an obvious opportunity to bond with peers and classmates while enjoying live sports.

For Pyszkowski, her biggest takeaway from the evening was the realization of the encouragement she’s received at Elon and with the Hurricanes. “The majority of my faculty members came, my mentors from the Canes all came up to me throughout the night, and I even had a lot of freshmen and students driving an hour from campus to support my event,” she said. “It was really touching to be supported by so many people.”

Among the sport and event management faculty in attendance were Department Chair Hal Walker, Assistant Professors Mark Cryan, Shaina Dabbs and Craig Schmitt, and Adjunct Instructor Troy Carlton.

​During the evening, Elon students and faculty spoke with Dave Olsen, executive vice president and general manager of PNC Arena; Larry Perkins, vice president of guest relations and assistant general manager; Crystal Pace, director of arena marketing; Doug Warf, vice president of marketing for the Carolina Hurricanes; and Sarah Daniel, vice president of ticket sales.

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