By Dave Eminian
Peoria Journal Star
PEORIA, Ill. – Bart Rogers started as an intern with the Peoria Rivermen 12 years ago and helped build the professional hockey team from the ground up.
Now he gets to enjoy the view from the top of one of professional sports’ best-run operations.
The ECHL club made Rogers’ expected promotion official Monday. It settled on team president and chief executive officer as his new title.
Rogers, 33, a Hamilton native who went to Western Illinois University and graduated with a degree in recreation and sports administration, comes in after a glorious run at the helm by departed team president John Butler.
“We have one of the best promotional lineups in sports, and we will continue to market the team the same way,” Rogers said. “Postgame concerts, celebrity appearances, big-ticket items – those things will remain our philosophy, nothing changes there.”
What does change is this: Rogers will have no second in command. He says the general manager slot he is vacating will be dissolved.
Front-office payroll will be diverted to adding three full-time sales representatives, who will push the team’s staff to 10.
“Group tickets, season tickets, that’s where it’s all at, it’s the key,” said Rogers, a Morton resident whose club sold about 2,400 season tickets this season. “We need to get back to attacking that, and we’re going to add people with that concentration in mind.
“We don’t need a general manager. I’m a hands-on guy, and I want aggressive, driven-type people who will get after sales.”