• Meet Andrea Hahn, Queen of the Ice

     
    POSTED May 7, 2019
     

    Andrea Hahn, general manager of Chicago’s new MB Ice Arena, knows her way around an ice rink.

Ever since she was a little girl, Andrea Hahn has loved hockey. When she met her husband, who happened to be a hockey player, the sport became strong in their home, with her son playing throughout his school career. Their three daughters were figure skaters, so naturally, Hahn found herself spending a lot of time at ice rinks. “I’m kind of immune to the cold at this point,” she quips. We caught up with her to learn about her role with the city’s latest hockey rink, the MB Ice Arena – Chicago Blackhawks Community Rink, which is the practice home of the Chicago Blackhawks and much more.

What does your role as GM of the MB Ice Arena entail?
I run all aspects of the arena day to day, whether it’s the ice schedule, customers and employees, as well as all the events here. We opened in November 2017 as the official practice facility of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Besides hockey, what kinds of events can be hosted here?
We can do anything from a small birthday party for kids to a corporate function. Some include the ice; some have nothing to do with ice. We’ve had corporate events that start with a meeting and merge into a lunch, then at the end we’ve incorporated broomball, ice bocce or skating. We are also about to add an option for flooring to cover the ice to host events, which is another option for a nontraditional event venue.

Tell us how those games are played.
In broomball, you’re on the ice but you’re not in ice skates—you can wear regular gym shoes. You have what looks like a hockey stick but instead of a curve, it ends with a paddle, and you use a large ball rather than a puck. Ice bocce is like bags or corn hole, except you’re on the ice. Basically, they bring everybody onto a level playing field, because you can use the ice in a fun way that doesn’t take any skating skills.

How does the Blackhawks connection play into events?
We’re able to offer tours through their practice facility private locker space, which are very popular. The arena can also tap into the Blackhawks team ambassadors, including Denis Savard, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Chris Chelios, who help the organization with fan engagement activities.

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.