Hockey and Beer — They Go Together!

From the desk of Beth Wilkinson, the Erie Insurance Arena Concession Operations Manager:

Yes, hockey fans do love their beer.  During the last hockey game, there was a total of 7,662 individual beverages sold.  More than 5,000 of those were beer, and more than 4,000 were draft poured from 59 taps. And what goes with beer?  Pretzels and popcorn. 573 pretzels and 425 boxes of popcorn were sold the same night.

The arena uses a BLM (Beer Line Maintenance) system.  The BLM control unit generates a complex audio signal.  It transports this signal through the beer lines to create an unfriendly environment for yeast and bacteria cells to grow.  The prevention of yeast and bacteria contamination allows beer to flow from keg to glass without any deterioration in quality. This provides better tasting, brewery fresh draft.  Cleaner beer is better beer!


How Many Cooks Does it Take to Run the BCC Kitchen?

It’s a big responsibility managing the food service operation at the Erie Insurance Arena and the Bayfront Convention Center. The team responsible for running the successful operation is led by Executive Chef David Robbinson.

The Erie Events culinary team currently has 18 members. The team is lead by Executive Chef David Robbinson, Sous Chef Ryan Callahan and Chefs de Parti Jake Juliano and Ann Brunner. The Chefs, along with 15 part-time culinary professionals, are responsible for the food service at Erie Insurance Arena, Bayfront Convention Center and the event space at the soon-to-be Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel. Executive Chef Robbinson is quick to point out that each member of the culinary team plays a critical role in the success of the operation.

Chef’s primary role is to plan, create, cost menus and standardized recipes for meal production. He meets with clients to design event-specific menus for galas, weddings and a variety of special events that wish to move above and beyond the regular menu offerings. The Sous Chef, Ryan Callahan, handles the daily execution of meals. Ann Brunner and Jake Juliano, Chefs de Parti, are front line managers and ensure the recipe standards are precisely followed. It’s the responsibility of the Cook 1 to ensure that the protein (beef, chicken, fish) is properly prepared. The Cook 2 handles the preparation of cold food. Preparing sliced vegetables, fruit and cheese for final production is the job of Cook 3. Chef also stressed the importance of the utility aids who ensure a very high standard of kitchen sanitation.

When you attend events at the Erie Insurance Arena or the Bayfront Convention Center, it is these 18 people, working together, to bring you quality food.

Working together as a team is the success of the operation — it depends on it! If you’re interested in planning an event at the BCC to try the food firsthand, call 814-455-1260 or visit them online at

A Day in the Life: Operations Manager at EIA and JUP

From the desk of Ray Williams, Operations Manager at Erie Insurance Arena and Jerry Uht Ballpark:

A busy season has come to an end.  From August 21st,  when we started building ice at Erie Insurance Arena, until Friday May 22nd,  when we removed the ice sheet, we hosted 106 events in this building.  Those events range from sporting events including Otters hockey, Bayhawks basketball and Explosion football to family entertainment like the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, Jason Aldean, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many others.

Even though the crowds will be few and far between now, we have a lot to accomplish.  Once we catch our breath from the marathon that is the season, we start repairing and preparing the Arena for another successful season in 2015-2016.

Over the course of the season we receive feedback from team staff, ushers, security, players, food and beverage, administration and fans about what needs to be improved and what needs to be repaired.  We also conduct an extensive walk around the building and take notes on everything that needs attention.  It can be as small as a light out, a dirty HVAC duct or something large like re-painting entire hallways or spending a week sorting and taking inventory of all our storage.

While we may not see as many fans as we did during the winter, we will still be as busy getting the building ready for next season.

melting ice shaved ice no ice

What It’s Like to be the Executive Assistant at Erie Events

From the desk of Brighid O’Brien:

I was told by a college professor that the best experience and way to learn a company is from an Executive Assistant position.  So I took her advice and have had the pleasure of serving in this position at Erie Events for almost eight years.  I have seen the Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel join the Erie Events family, as well as the Courtyard by Marriott Bayfront Hotel and Bayfront Place.  I have learned, and continue to learn, many valuable lessons from not only our Executive Director but also from my coworkers.

So what do I do daily? I help secure events, issue contracts and help schedule meetings for various Erie Events employees. I have the pleasure of working with our Board of Directors and help prepare the materials for our monthly meetings.  Over time I am being exposed to more and more of the daily activities and tasks of the Executive Director, which is keeping me on my toes.

I wouldn’t be doing my Premium Service Coordinator title justice if I didn’t remind you of the fabulous suites we have available in the Erie Insurance Arena.  If you are looking for space to have an event, come take a look at the GoErie Club in the Erie Insurance Arena.

I am very thankful I took the advice of that professor at John Carroll nine years ago.

Jerry Uht Park Chosen for 2015 NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Baseball Championship

Ticket Information; Day one Schedule Announced for Atlantic Regional Championship
ERIE, Pa. – Ticket information and the day one schedule of the 2015 NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Baseball Championship have been released after a conference call on Monday afternoon. The tournament is being hosted by Mercyhurst University and will be held at Jerry Uht Park after the Lakers claimed the top seed in the Atlantic Region during Sunday night’s selection show on

Complete tournament information, including the tournament schedule, team information, ticket information, directions, and links to Jerry Uht Park and the City of Erie can be found at the 2015 NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Baseball Championship Tournament Central page.

As the tournament progresses, live stats, box scores, and post-game stories will also be available at the tournament central page.

The second-seeded Marauders of Millersville University will open the tournament against the fifth-seed, and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division rival, West Chester University at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. Millersville climbed up to the second spot by virtue of winning the PSAC tournament earlier this month.

The top-seeded Lakers will play at 3:30 p.m. against the sixth-seeded Yellow Jackets of West Virginia State while the third-seeded Griffins of Seton Hill University will play the nightcap against the fourth-seeded Rams of Winston-Salem State. First pitch of that contest is slated for 7:00 p.m.

All-tournament passes are available for the opening day only. Prices are $30 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens. After the opening day, only single-day passes will be available – $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Fans will be able to purchase tickets at the main entrance to Jerry Uht Park.

Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales Coming to the Warner Theatre in August

Prepare to step into a world of wonder where wishing is only the beginning and dreams really do come true in Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. An enchanted quest featuring more than 25 Disney characters, this stage production from Feld Entertainment®, the producers of Disney On Ice, performs at the Warner Theatre on August 21st.  Tickets are on sale May 12th.

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they take audiences on a captivating journey and magically bring to life three timeless fairy tale adventures. Discover Snow White as she searches for her one true love; Cinderella getting ready for her magical night at the ball; and Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, as she finds happiness in the most unusual place. Anchored amidst a transforming set, captivating choreography, innovative lighting and breathtaking costumes, this authentically-woven tale of “happily-ever-after” is a heart-warming Disney experience for the entire family.

To learn more about Disney Live!, go to  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Warner Theatre (809 French St., Erie, PA  16501)

Show Date & Time:              Friday, August 21, 2015         4:00PM           7:00PM

Ticket Prices:                         Ticket start at $15.00

To order tickets by phone:   814-452-4857


Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year Connor McDavid

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that 2015 NHL Draft top prospect Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters is the 2014-15 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the league.

McDavid finished third in OHL scoring with 120 points in 47 games played recording 44 goals and 76 assists with a league-high plus-minus rating of plus-60 helping the Otters win 50 games for the second straight season earning their first Midwest Division title since 2002.  He becomes the second straight Otter to win the award and third player in franchise history to receive the honour following Connor Brown and Brad Boyes who won back-to-back in 2001 and 2002.

“Obviously it’s amazing, it’s such a special honour,” McDavid said. “It’s an award that’s really for a team. You wouldn’t be at this point without your teammates and all the coaches and everyone. I think it’s one of the most team-oriented awards there are. Obviously it means a lot getting your name on it, but at the same time, I owe it all to the boys.  You look at the list of names that have been there before and a couple of Otters come to mind, obviously Brad Boyes and Connor Brown. Just to be named with those two guys, let alone the other names that are on that trophy, it’s such an honour.”

The 18-year-old from Newmarket, ON, recorded a point in 45 of his 47 games played this season with an incredible 36 multi-point efforts and highlighted by a league-high 27-game point-streak.  The Otters’ captain led the league with three-star recognition in 32 games this season including 17 first star performances.  He received OHL Player of the Week honours for the week ending October 26 and was named OHL Player of the Month in October and February while leading the OHL’s Western Conference Coaches Poll with first place votes in three categories including Best Playmaker and Best Skater both for the second straight season, and Best Stickhandler for the third straight season.  A member of Canada’s National Junior Team, McDavid won gold at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship and was named a Tournament All-Star finishing tied for first with 11 points.

“We all know he’s an amazing player, playing in an amazing development league,” said Otters General Manager Sherry Bassin. “The real issue is, I want the world to know that he’s an amazing person. It’s his character as a person, it’s his inner drive to be the best he can. That combination with his ability makes him very worthy of this award. It’s a special award for a special person.”

The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League.  First presented in 1945, the trophy is named in honour of Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.

Accredited media were asked to select their top three choices from the 20 nominees submitted by all 20 member clubs.  Players received five points for a first place selection, three points for second place and one point for a third place selection.  In over 80 ballots collected, McDavid received 407 points in the voting process with first place votes on over 94% of all ballots.  Overage Player of the Year and New Jersey Devils prospect Joseph Blandisi of the Barrie Colts finished second in voting with 123 points, followed by Defenceman of the Year and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Anthony DeAngelo of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi of the London Knights who tied for third in voting with 79 points.

Eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid is the top ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.  He becomes the sixth youngest recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy behind John Tavares who earned the honour as a 16-year-old with the Oshawa Generals in 2007, and four other players who received the honour prior to their NHL Draft selection including Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers in 2010, the Whalers’ David Legwand in 1998, the Generals’ Eric Lindros in 1991, and Jack Valiquette of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1974.

McDavid’s 2015 Red Tilson Trophy marks the fifth different major OHL Award he has earned since joining the league after being granted exceptional player status as a 15-year-old by Hockey Canada in 2012 making him the most decorated player in OHL history.  As the Otters’ first overall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, McDavid received the Jack Ferguson Award and later earned the Emms Family Award as Rookie of the Year for the 2012-13 season.  Last season he received the William Hanley Trophy awarded to the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, also earning the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year which he won again in 2014-15.  He becomes just the second player in OHL history to have his name appear on OHL Awards six times joining former Otter Brad Boyes who earned Red Tilson Trophy honours in 2001 and 2002, William Hanley Trophy honours in 2001 and 2002, along with the Bobby Smith Trophy in 2000, and the Wayne Gretzky ‘99’ Award as OHL Playoff MVP in 2002.

McDavid will be the OHL’s nominee for the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year Award presented at the CHL Awards Ceremony during the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City.  McDavid will also be present at the OHL’s Awards Ceremony on Tuesday June 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

A Day in the Life: Bayfront Convention Center Event Coordinator

From the desk of Rachel Libra, Bayfront Convention Center Event Coordinator:

Hi there! I was born and raised in Erie, PA and am a 2013 Penn State Behrend graduate who was lucky enough to immediately begin my career in 2014 at the Bayfront Convention Center as a part-time Event Coordinator. A year later, I was promoted to a full-time position.

My typical daily duties are to communicate with our client’s via email, telephone or in person to discuss and confirm all details of their specific event. After gathering additional information, I create floor plans to assure everything needed for each event fits within their space. I also enter the detailed information into our event software which helps streamline business. Another part of my job is to provide menu tastings so our clients can experience firsthand what the BCC has to offer. Over the past year, I have learned it is important to be thorough when entering information in our events software so the information is communicated properly to ensure employees can perform and execute to the best of their ability to satisfy our clients.

The Bayfront Convention Center is a great place to work. We have the ability to accommodate any type of event, plus we have a beautiful view — what’s not to love?!  Our building provides us the opportunity to host a diverse list of events which makes my job so fun! I have detailed a variety of events from the UFO Convention, Regional Cancer Center’s Spa Day, numerous holiday parties and the Back to School Expo just to name a few! My favorite part of my career is seeing events come to life from beginning to end while interacting and meeting different people regularly!


A Day in the Life: Head Groundskeeper at Jerry Uht Ballpark

The 2015 Erie SeaWolves season is underway, but getting the park up and running was a challenge. Brandon Schanz, head groundskeeper, explains:

Getting ready for the 2015 Seawolves season was challenging because of the extreme weather conditions. The month leading up to the opener was full of cold weather and precipitation which was extremely hard on the infield dirt. My crew of 12 members worked continuously to try and dry out the infield. We worked through rain, snow and hail to get the job done. Unfortunately, it rained the day of the opener and all of our progress was set back. We played a double header the following day to make up the postponed game.

Poor weather conditions at the beginning of the season are nothing new in Erie. However, we have made some improvements that are different this year. A concrete wall and new field gates were installed behind homeplate. After the backstop wall was completed the “Pace of Game” clocks were attached to the wall and one was placed behind the outfield fence. We also put up new wall pads in right field to ensure the safety of our players. After the 2014 season we installed walkways going from the dugouts to homeplate. This gives the field a fresh new look and cuts back on re-sodding the field. We also built new bat and helmet racks for the dugouts. It’s going to be a good season at Jerry Uht Ballpark!

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