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Q&A with Rick Dames

by Serlee

1: As a fan of the game of hockey, what drew you to the sport?

I grew up in New York City and Madison Square Garden had 50 cent tickets in the Side Balcony for Knick Basketball and Ranger Hockey. I went to both, but really built a comaraderee with Hockey Fans and through High School only missed one Ranger Home Game. I respected the fact that Hockey is terrific entertainment as a simple game - constant action, physical intimidation, the players were accessable, the Ranger Fan Club was active, we went on road trips and didn't worry about safety etc. Watching the game even closer I began to really respect the strategy - the home team getting the last line change and watching line match ups, who takes the face off in each zone, how you can switch a winger to physically work the corners without fighting - the psycology of intimidation without taking the penelty, or sending Brad Domonsky out to agitate Lorne Toews so they both wind up in the Box therefore breaking up the Robertson/Bumsted/Toews line and all the little strategies going on during the game. As a fan you can watch it simple - or get involved with the minutia.

2: What got you interested in purchasing the Waco Wizards franchise?

Actually, while doing radio color for the IceRays I would come to Waco, see a loyal core of fans, nice people but no real show production, signage not sold, no fans in the stands other than the loyalists, no radio! - now that really bothered me. And a well coached terrific Hockey Team! When Stu Kehoe came to me I agreed that the potential was there. When the League approached me and the deal got right I felt it was worth the risk because it wasn't the fan's fault that they were not getting the full show - the full promotion. I felt that a responsive, show businessy management that promoted and was sales savvy could really have a win here. I felt that if we worked hard to earn the trust of the community we can win the fans back and create new ones. This is a great game. I promise that if you take a friend - they'll come back again - hey, sit with me, we'll convert anyone into being a Hockey fan!

3: How did you and the Kehoe's come together to buy the team?

Stu was interum General Manager in Corpus Christi until the Franchise sold. He was investigating the opportunity to put together an investment group within Waco. That effort failed but his enthusiasm got to me. My Rio Grande Valley Building won't be ready this season so Stu knew that I had resources available. Between us we worked with HOT and the League to make the risk a little less and hopefully worth the reward if we do the right things. Time is against us but we have a good group that can do the things needed to appeal to the hard core Hockey Fan and the fan out for just an evening of entertainment and a group of customer fucused sales people to find ways that area businesses could benefit themselves partnering with Waco Hockey! You and I know that Hockey fans are "FANATICS" that purchase products and services that support Hockey!

4: Some people believe that you have a conflict of interest due to the fact the you own the a WPHL franchise that is to begin play in the Rio Grande Valley in to 2000-01 season. What do you have to say to those who think this is true?

This League has a few multiple ownerships. It would be irresponsible of me to sacrifice the value of either Property for the benefit of a short term Cup run. Hockey fans are smart. Trading Kory Cooper to Rio Grande Valley for a stretch run would ruin our credibility in Waco and therefore the ultimate value of the asset - why would anyone do that?

5: Whst plans do you and your co-owners have instore for the fans and the team for the '99-2000 season and beyond?

Right now it's scramble time - Open an office, make a season ticket brochure, get phones, build a sales staff, do the Corporate thing and most important build a winning product. Kevin has some great loyalties among young players and minor league contacts from other leagues. We're committed to putting together a great team and are now out signing the core of last years winning group. Every gamenight will be a show - with promotions, the right music, smoke tunnels, bands playing outside (well, not every game) Disneylike. Hey, they sell out in Anaheim!