HBSE, Devils Name Tad Brown as CEO

Following the departure of Scott O’Neil late last month, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment have found their new CEO: Thaddeus “Tad” Brown.

Brown will take over as CEO of HBSE and, in doing so, “will oversee all business and growth functions for the HBSE brand and its properties, including the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center” according to the press release put out by the Devils’ PR team. They mentioned his starting date as August 3.

Brown previously worked for the Houston Rockets and Toyota Center (the Rockets’ home arena) and Clutch City Sports and Entertainment in Houston. Fifteen of his twenty years there were spent as CEO. While in Houston, he served on the NBA Board of Governors, was a representative to the Executive Committee and was on the NBA’s Media Committee.

The press release notes that while he was with the Rockets, “[t]he business thrived under his leadership, setting Toyota Center records for sellouts, attendance, total events, and customer satisfaction. Additionally, Houston hosted NBA All-Star Weekend in both 2006 and 2013, as Brown played a key role in making Toyota Center the first NBA building to have two All-Star Games over a seven-year period.”

In addition, “[h]is extensive knowledge of media rights helped fuel the Rockets growth, including the creation of the Houston Regional Sports Network in 2012, now established as AT&T SportsNet Southwest.”

The presser also notes that “[i]n 2017, Brown orchestrated the sale of the Rockets by Leslie Alexander to Tilman Fertitta for a then-NBA and global sports franchise record $2.2 billion.”

Brown was also successful in building “community outreach and charitable endeavors” with the Rockets. He served as President of Houston Children’s Charities, was on the Board of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Opportunity Houston Committee and the Board of Central Houston and was also on the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Prior to joining the Houston Rockets, he “was a Founder and President of Streetball Partners International. For more than a decade, he worked in partnership with NBC Sports and the NBA to build Streetball into the world’s largest global grassroots basketball property.”

Harris said about him: “[w]e are thrilled to welcome Tad to the HBSE family. Tad is an exceptional leader in our industry, and one with a deep passion for innovation and community engagement. With nearly twenty years’ experience leading the Houston Rockets and Toyota Center, we are confident that he will bring a fresh energy and new ideas to our teams, organization and local communities.”

David Blitzer added: “Tad has an extensive track record of success in the sports and entertainment industry, and we are excited to have him on board to lead our elite management team for HBSE’s next chapter. With his experience and passion for growing businesses and global brands, he is poised to continue our organization’s path forward and reach new levels of achievement.”

Brown commented as well, saying: “I want to thank Josh Harris and David Blitzer for this incredible opportunity to lead HBSE in its next chapter. This role not only allows me to work for innovators like Josh and David; it also allows me to work alongside some of the industry’s best talent that has been assembled across the HBSE organization. This is a world-class sports and entertainment organization that cares about the cities and fans it serves. My family and I are thrilled to begin our new journey and I’m eager to help guide HBSE to even greater heights.”

Brown graduated from Colgate University. While at Colgate, “he was a four-year starter and three-year captain of the varsity basketball team.”

Meghan Duggan Named to Devils Front Office

In a busy news day for the Devils, the team announced this morning that former United States Olympian and gold medal winner Meghan Duggan has been named to the front office as Manager, Player Development and will operate within the team’s Hockey Operations Department.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Fitzgerald who said “[w]e are incredibly excited to announce that Meghan has joined our Player Development Department. As our group has evolved over the past few years the past few years to include as much about off-ice as on-ice for development, we believe Meghan will be perfect for this position. Her successful track record as a teammate, leader, captain and driver of initiatives will be resources to all players in our organization. We look forward to her utilizing her perspective of the game, attention to detail and creative thinking to help our players reach their potential.”

The press release put out by the Devils states that “Duggan will work closely with Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager Dan MacKinnon across all levels of the development department’s operations, with a specific focus on on-ice and off-ice information. She will coordinate with the Athlete Care group, Development Coaches and Management on the design, improvement and execution of progress plans for all players within the organization. Duggan will be responsible for staff schedules, synthesizing information regarding prospects and AHL/ECHL players while assessing all players through in-person and video scouting. Additionally, she will join the Devils’ staff in on-ice development throughout the year.”

Having just retired from professional hockey, she had an international career that is unparalleled in hockey for men or women. The Danvers, Massachusetts native won 11 medals, including eight gold medals for Team USA. In the Olympics, she won silver in 2010 in Vancouver, silver in 2014 at Sochi (her first Olympics as captain) and gold in 2018 at PyeongChang.

At the IIHF Women’s World Championship, she won gold seven times (2008-09, 2011, 2013 and 2015-17) and won silver once in 2007.

In 2014, while still playing, she was named to the USA Hockey Board of Directors and to the USA Hockey Women’s Advisory Committee in 2017.

She played college hockey at Wisconsin as a forward from 2006-2011 and own the Patty Kazmaier Award (given each year to the top women’s player in the NCAA in their senior season) The presser notes that she was “the Badgers’ all-time leading scorer” following her collegiate career.

In 2011, she was drafted eighth overall by the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She played in Boston from 2011 to 2015 and won the Clarkson Cup (the CWHL’s championship) twice – in 2013 and 2015.

Following her time in the CWHL, she moved to the National Women’s Hockey League in 2015 and played for the Buffalo Beauts in 2015-16 and the Boston Pride in 2016-17.

The press release notes that she has long advocated accessibility, diversity and participation in the game. It notes that “[s]he was part of the inaugural group that was named to the National Hockey League’s Player Inclusion Committee last season. She has served as a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PHWPA) and the Women’s Sports Foundation as a Board of Trustees member. Duggan has used her platform throughout her career for mentorship and motivational speaking with a focus on gender equality, diversity & inclusion, leadership, LGBTQ+ advocacy and teamwork.”