The Kootenay Ice’s new Director of Business Operations and Fan Experience, Leah Watkins, poses in front of a team logo.

Kootenay Ice expand front office with two new hires

Cranbrook WHL team adds new director and manager of business operations and fan experience

The Kootenay Ice announced organizational changes to their front office on Tuesday morning, introducing two new employees to the fold for the 2017-18 season.

Leah Watkins has assumed the role of Director of Business Operations and Fan Experience for the Ice, while Priya Plested had been added as the Manager of Business Operations and Fan Experience.

According to a press release from the team, Watkins has spent the past three years in sales and marketing, working most recently as a solutions consultant for the Winnipeg-based 1Life Workplace Safety Solutions.

Watkins holds a business administration degree from Red River College with a major in marketing. She also has experience volunteering for several sports organizations including the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“Leah will provide some tremendous skill, energy, and enthusiasm that will translate into deeper relationships with our customers and business partners,” said Ice President and General Manager Matt Cockell in the release.

Plested will be joining the Ice after five years as a volunteer with the Kamloops Blazers as a part of their game day staff. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Thompson Rivers University with a major in marketing and finance.

In addition to her work with the Blazers, Plested was a game operations intern with Hockey Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Women’s Championship and spent the summer of 2017 as a business intern with the WHL.

“Priya brings a progressive approach to game day operations and her experience working with a number of first-class organizations will greatly benefit the Ice,” Watkins said of her new teammate within the Ice front office.

Watkins and Plested are a part of an expanded Kootenay Ice front office which includes Raylin Kirsch (Vice President), Brant Hilton (Manager, Communications and Community), Rylee Andersen (Manager, Office Experience) and Robin Sudo (Bookkeeper and Anthemist).

The club previously had the position of Director of Corporate Partnership and Fan Experience held by Reid Mitchell. The switch to a larger team to tackle business and fan experience is one of several changes which have taken place since Cockell and team owner and governor Greg Fettes took control of the organization last May.

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