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Michael Santos Introduced As New Team President

Monday, November 7th
Michael Santos Introduced As New Team President

NORFOLK, VA. - Monday afternoon the Admirals held a gathering at aLatte Cafe on Granby Street in Norfolk to introduce the team's new President, Michael Santos. The following is a log of what Mr. Santos, along with Mango Media Group's Ardon Wiener and Michael Gargy had to say:

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Michael Santos: "I'd like to start by saying thanks to everyone for coming today, the players, the coaches, the staff. I'm happy to be here.

I know the tradition of hockey in this town and I know the long tradition of winning and it's a primary reason why I decided to come here. I can tell you my goal is to start winning off the ice, as well as on the ice, as soon as possible. I know we have the coaching staff and the players that are ready to do that. We're ready to not only be competitive but to be a part of the community as well. What’s really unique about an area like Norfolk and Virginia Beach is that fact that we can bind with the community and be successful in both areas.

Again, thank you all for coming today and I'd love to speak with all of you an answer any questions you may have."

QUESTIONS FROM THE MEDIA:

*Directed toward Ardon Wiener, Michael Gargy and Michael Santos*

Q: Have you two had the chance to come to a game yet?

Michael Gargy: "Yes, I was at the game when the team played Greenville on a Wednesday a few weeks ago. It was a tough loss but it is still early in the season and I think we have time to turn it around."

Q: So you took something away from that game?

Michael Gargy: "Yeah, we have our work cut out for us. Attendance is down but if the team improves its play we'll be able to have some structure in place."

Q: Last time we spoke I asked you if you would invite the mayor to a game. I was at that game and I did not see him there. I would like to see you work closely with the city, get more people out, more people of color, students and folks who will fill those seats. Do you think with the hole being so hollow, that is impacting the players' game?

Michael Santos: "I'll answer that. I don't think there's any doubt that that will impact the players. The advantage that you can have by playing at home can be vital to the success that that can give you. I know that these guys, as well as the coaches, are busting their behinds every day. They want to bring a winner here. We want to get them that support. It does mean a lot to them and us. This is an open invitation. This is a new era for the Admirals, under new ownership, new leadership, and we understand that we have to broaden our perspectives. Like you said, we want to welcome the community, whether it's people of color or people who have never seen a hockey game before, because we know that once they come down here, once they go to Scope and take in a game, that they'll be hooked."

QUESTIONS TOWARDS NEW PRESIDENT MICHAEL SANTOS:

Q: So, what brings you to Norfolk? Was it a tough sell? What made your decision to come here?

Santos: "Well, I'm a lifelong hockey guy. I've been working in hockey one way or another for 27 years, so I know about the history and tradition of hockey in this town. I know everything from the John Brophy years, all the way up to John Cooper, the coach of the Calder Cup Championship team a few years ago. In fact, I was in John Cooper's wedding.

It wasn't a tough sell. Especially since I was able to get together with the new ownership here and understand their plans to bring high caliber hockey back here to Norfolk."

Q: When we originally met with Ardon and Michael a few weeks ago, they said that nothing is a quick fix. What are the plans to get this product on the ice to get back to what it was not long ago?

Santos: I don't think there's anything that's a quick fix in business if you want to do things right. Ardon and his family have the right idea, there's no doubt about that. One of the things we do need to do, and we can do is quickly, is let people know we are here. I think that his organization has been silent in this town for far too long and I don't think we're reaching out to the entire community.

I can tell you from my experiences in markets like San Antonio, Texas, that hockey fans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. It's a matter of getting people out, letting them enjoy themselves and rooting for their team. If you're able to do that, get the word out, then there will be more support for the team and the team performs well on the ice. We can take it all from there.

Q: Along lose lines; it's not just wins and losses on the ice. So in a way, it's more putting a quality product together off the ice?

Santos: In order to for us to have the support of the community, we need to show them we support them too. That means we need to be out there where the people can see us. We need to be out there having people expecting our business if we want their business. Our players, our coaches, our staff need to be out in the community because it's also about providing business. We want to revitalize this community, not only through our efforts on the ice, but also through showing our support to them and that's something that needs to happen first.

Q: You've been in the hockey industry for decades. Do you have any doubts or reservations that this can be a hockey town once again?

Santos: No. One of the things that I think that has happened is that as the organization has aged, our fans have aged as well. Now it's our time to reach out to the community for new fans, find new places where fans can come from, and go find our new demographic. It's a fantastic sport, it's a sport for all ages and we need to go out there to find new fans.

QUESTIONS FOR OWNER ARDON WIENER:

Q: When we spoke a few weeks ago you said you had some hires to make, what was it about Michael that led you to choose him?

Ardon: "Michael has an incredible track record. We interviewed dozens of candidates and received hundreds of resumes, it was astronomical that amount of candidates that we had apply. It was something new and funny to us because coming from the real estate industry, it's hard to find a reliable employee, but all of a sudden in sports you have way more qualified candidates than you have positions. With Michael, his experience ranges from all levels of hockey. He's been on the other side of the table from us, working on the NHL side, trying to lift up their minor league affiliates. That, amongst decades of experience, we thought he was a great fit."

Q: Michael said he wants to get this organization more out in the community and now you're bringing him in the lead the food chain, is this what you hoped to see from him?

Ardon: "Absolutely. That's our top priority. We plan on extending our sales department, so there will be some additions to come soon. Hopefully the community will start hearing us some more. We want some greater signage around the stadium and getting our word out there. That is a top the list of 50 things that we want to do to help the franchise, and again, change isn't going to happen very quickly but there are things that we want to do over time."

Q: It's been a month since you've taken over, do you have any regrets about taking over?

Ardon: (Laughs) "That's a good question. No regrets. Absolutely no regrets. When you look into a team and do your due diligence, you can see the problems. As soon as you take it over, you start to feel them. Nothing has surprised us. In fact, learning about the operations has just shown us the opportunities that we have and the changes that could be made, which I don't want to get into the specifics of, but there will be made that will be a lot changes made.

A little change will be made this season, but we're really focusing on next season, the 2017-18 season."

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