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October 10, 2019

Monthly Board Member Article

October MIAMA Board Member Article:

Mat Hennen – Rhunestone Community Center, Alexandria, MN

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Name: Mat Hennen
Organization Name: Runestone Community Center
Address: 802 3rd Ave W
City: Alexandria State: MN Zip: 56308
Email: mhennen@alexandriamn.city
Phone #: 320-763-4466, 320-491-6197
Website: www.runestonecommunitycenter.com
Tell us how you got into the industry?
Being a rink rat at the rink. My Dad offered me a job to drive the Zamboni since none of his part time help would show up.
How many years have you been in the ice arena industry?
9 full time and 11 off and on part time.
1998 I took a part time job at the RCC in Alexandria. After high school I played JR’s and drove Zamboni at all the rinks I played at. Then I went to college in Duluth and drove for the DECC and MARS Lakeview. After returning home in 2011 to Alexandria I accepted a full-time position here at the RCC.
What is the best part about working in an ice arena?
Seeing the player’s progression of maturity as hockey athletes. Watching them grow throughout time. I love when they come back and talk about home games and the memories that they have created in the rink. That were just another day to me making sure I was doing my job and providing the best for them.
Using one word, name one thing you love about working at a rink?
ICE
Nobody’s perfect in this industry. Tell us your worst experience at a rink so far?
Plugged return lines, Zamboni failures thinking I could make it one more game, and double bookings. The double booking was the worst. Because I still get the goose bumps from the look on that mother’s face that was imprinted in my mind!
What are the first three things you do when you get to the rink each day?
Compressor checks, schedule needs/changes and emails.
How do you feel ongoing professional development is helping you and your career?
Profession development is my job. I show up every day at the rink to make it a better place tomorrow. This allows for ongoing development with ideas that lead my passion of this industry. Not only the continuous amounts of education that have been available to make my life much easier at the rink with MAIMA. But, also along with establishing a network of awesome people around me that I can count on for help and troubleshooting ideas. I’m not perfect, but an easy question of trouble can be a perfect answer to make something from nothing.
How would you explain to the average hockey parent how the ice resurfacer works to resurface the ice?
It has studded tires to do its job and make it around the rink. While at the same time it is cutting the ice and laying down new water to skate on.
Who would you like to acknowledge for helping (mentoring) you along the way?
Vinnie Hennen, Walt Bruley, Brendan Flaherty, Mike Bauer, Scott Ward, Jeff Horstman and Cory Portner
What is the best tip you have learned from any of the classes offered through MIAMA?
Go to class, breakouts and round tables because it is your job. Respect the networking. Respect the person next you in class as one day you may call on them to help you.
Why did you want to get involved with the MIAMA Board of Directors?
I felt like it was my job to make sure that MIAMA created the best environment for all of its member’s to be successful. From the first class, to the first day as a board member with MIAMA I have had the passion to help and create the best ice arena association in the United States and North America.
How has being involved with the Board of Directors influenced your career?
It has taken me to reach my goals for myself in the industry so far. From starting as a par time Zamboni driver and cleaning bathrooms to maintenance manager and now operations manager of the RCC. Presently completing my term on the board as a President and leader of MIAMA has taken my career to new level accomplishments for sure!
As president of MIAMA for 2019-2020, what are you hoping to accomplish for MIAMA?
Sustain the networking of MIAMA. Try get more rink tours in to allow all the areas of Minnesota to communicate together more often than three times a year. Keep bringing the highest level of education that is needed to members. Begin a mentor program to start that will allow for new members to have insight in education and everyday life to not feel alone in the arena world when it comes crashing down.
As a member of the MIAMA board, what advice can you give to the newer members within the industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask for a mentor off the board that is in your area to help. Get involved as much as you can with the arena you are in or around. Stay positive and motivated to learn.
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” ~Margret Thatcher

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MIAMA President Member Spotlight: Mat Hennen – Runestone Community Center

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