Flying high

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BY JON BELL

0612 Dispatches Winterhawks 01
WHL Western Conference champions two years in a row, the Portland Winterhawks have sparked renewed excitement in Portland in more ways than one.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina

If you took a listen to the sports scene in Portland this spring, you probably didn't get much of an earful.

Sure, the Timbers Army — the motley crew that backs the city’s Major League Soccer team — was as boisterous and booming as always. But with the Timbers at the bottom of their conference in mid May, the noise was much more bark than bite.

Over at the Rose Garden in mid April, the Utah Jazz completely muzzled the Portland Trail Blazers in their final home game, slamming the door on a lackluster year that Paul Allen later called one of the most disappointing seasons in the 24 years he’s owned the team.

But just across the way at Memorial Coliseum, the building rumbled. Sirens wailed and thousands of fists bashed the air along with AC/DC’s T.N.T. every time the Portland Winterhawks scored a goal in their impressive run through the Western Hockey League’s 2012 playoffs. The team had already won 49 of 72 regular season games. They plowed through the Kelowna Rockets, the Kamloops Blazers and the Tri-City Americans on their way to their second conference championship in a row. And before sellout crowds of nearly 11,000 people in the Rose Garden they battled the Edmonton Oil Kings in a heartbreaking seven-game series that stopped them just short of a spot in the Memorial Cup, the world series of major junior hockey.

That a Portland sports team was actually doing well was remarkable enough. That it was the Winterhawks, whose last taste of the Memorial Cup came back in 1998 and whose prior management had driven them to the brink of nonexistence just a few years ago, was nothing short of miraculous.

“The revitalization has been pretty amazing,” says Ron Robison, commissioner of the WHL. “They have always been one of our most successful franchises, but they fell on some difficult times literally just four or five years ago. To see the way it has turned around has been great.”

And it’s not just on the ice that the Hawks are making waves. Over the past few years, the team has beefed up its community outreach efforts and helped reinvigorate youth hockey in a city with a rich history of the sport. It’s also poised to contribute $10 million to a $32 million overhaul of Memorial Coliseum, a long-overdue renovation that many believe will spur the revitalization of the entire 30-acre Rose Quarter district.

“We’re winning again, we’re getting notice from the press and now it’s becoming interesting to the business community, too,” says Doug Piper, who’s been president of the team since November 2008. “It is this perfect mix of winning games and exciting projects that have really turned around our fortunes.”



 

Comments   

 
Charlene
0 #1 mrs.Charlene 2012-06-05 21:34:44
thats right they are one of the best, if not the best sports team in Portland,they may not be big league but they make every game they play exciting and wanting more,i do not want to miss a game let alone a play!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman

The Latest
Thursday, August 13, 2015
impactflowthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Power Player

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA WESTON

In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.


Read more...

Grain Food

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS