As soon as the announcement went out about the ARA of Arizona’s April hockey event, the buzz was on. The event, which quickly sold out, offered something fun for ARA members in the state — the chance to network with peers while experiencing an exciting night of hockey between the Arizona Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks, all from the comfort of a luxury suite at Gila River Arena.
“I think it was a raging success, especially for this chapter that has been strapped with not being able to gather because of the pandemic,” says Maureen Wendelberger, director of purchasing, Cre8ive Event Rentals, Tempe, and ARA of Arizona president. “We had 27 attend. There were lots of new faces and we had a nice diverse crowd, from executives to warehouse employees. Some had never been to a hockey game. Some were diehard Blackhawks fans and others were diehard Coyote fans. Everyone was happy to be out and together.”
Besides watching the game, those who attended enjoyed the chance to connect with their fellow rental operators.
“Everyone mingled,” Wendelberger says. “There was more mingling being done than people sitting in the seats watching the game. However, the video screen at the arena was huge, so even if you were being social in the back of the suite, you could still watch the game with ease. We also offered a really nice menu, so everyone had a good dinner, with plenty of refreshments and lots of snacks.”
For the ARA of Arizona board members, it also was the first opportunity for everyone to meet in person.
“I am relatively new to the board,” says Scott Schuller, partner, Direct Sales, Wilsonville, Ore., and ARA of Arizona associate member director. “We had met on a Teams call, but this was the first time I was able to meet fellow board members face to face. It was really nice to meet them as well as the other ARA members who were there.”
Region Seven Director Andrew Heesacker, president/CEO, Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colo., also attended. “Many, including several of our board members, had not been able to meet Andrew before this event. So from that perspective, that was a success, too,” Wendelberger says.
There was plenty of exciting hockey action that kept everyone’s attention. “The game was good even though the Coyotes weren’t able to pull out the win. They lost in overtime,” Schuller says.
“Even so, I had a great time. Everyone there seemed to have a great time, too,” he says. “I am definitely glad I went. It was a lot of fun.”
Combining sports, networking and good food is always a hit, Wendelberger adds. “People like sports and were happy and grateful to be able to be there.”
That is the beauty of events like this, Schuller says. “They offer a great way to not only have a good time watching the game but also get to know your counterparts in the industry, network with them, learn a thing or two or share some knowledge.”