When I called the new president of the Greenville Swamp Rabbit’s, I was anticipating a brief interview from which I would write a press release-styled piece about how he came into this position and what vision he brings to the team. I was looking forward to it but, honestly, I did not expect the conversation to branch too far from the business of Greenville hockey.
I could not have been more wrong.
Nearly an hour into the phone call we had talked about the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the minor league hockey as a whole, my home town hockey team the New York Islanders, what exactly hockey has to do with NASCAR, COVID-19, and even how baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is actually a pretty good dude, despite him denying my 10-year-old self an autograph so many years ago. We even managed to potentially arrange a team workout for my 44 year old friend, Keith, mainly so he can thoroughly embarrass himself and I can write about the experience for the world to enjoy at his expense.
There are a lot of layers to peel from this onion but, for now, let me just say this: Todd Mackin is bringing an exciting new vision to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and there is a lot to talk about, well beyond the sport of hockey. Next week, here at iOnGreenville, we will do just that and much, much more. Today, I am just here to say that I am really looking forward to it.
Here’s the Press Release from the Swamp Rabbits
The ECHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to accept the purchase of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits organization by Spire Hockey South, a subsidiary of Spire Hockey owned by Jeff Dickerson, T.J. Puchyr, Tom Long and Chip Ganassi. Spire Hockey South will own a majority stake in the Greenville franchise while former majority owners Doug Heinzer, Mike Panaggio and Bjarne Borg will maintain a minority interest in the team.
Headquartered just outside Charlotte in Cornelius, N.C., Spire Hockey is a subsidiary of Spire Holdings. Spire Holdings is a diversified sports and entertainment organization that pushes the boundaries of traditional marketing to foster business growth in the rapidly-changing 21st century. Through a diversified collection of businesses, Spire Holdings delivers value through consulting, representation and property management.
Spire Holdings portfolio of business includes ownership positions with Spire Sports + Entertainment, Spire Motorsports, Spire Property + Talent, Track Enterprises, fellow ECHL Member Club the Rapid City (S.D.) Rush and Good Hemp, Inc.
“This is an exciting day for us and there are several people that deserve our gratitude as this process reached its conclusion yesterday,” said Dickerson. “I want to thank Doug, Mike and Bjarne for their significant investment in the team. Without them, there isn’t hockey in Greenville and this opportunity doesn’t exist. I also want to thank Beth Paul and the Arena District Board for welcoming us with open arms, sharing in our vision and becoming partners in making hockey flourish in Greenville. We believe in this league and we believe in hockey in South Carolina. As Carolinians ourselves, we have immense pride in this region, in this community, and Greenville deserves a team that is the envy of the league. We’re asking the community to join us in letting the rest of the country know that Greenville is an amazing place to live, play and win. We’re looking forward to making the community proud.”
Todd Mackin takes over the lead of operations for the Swamp Rabbits and has begun to build his front office in Greenville. Announcements are forthcoming as the Swamp Rabbits welcome key executives and personnel as Spire leads the organization forward. As President of Spire Hockey, Mackin led an immediate turnaround of the Rapid City Rush. The team saw group ticket sales surge, average attendance increased by over 20%, and relationships were strengthened with over 100 corporate partners and 50 community organizations. Mackin’s role with the Rush will not change.
The Swamp Rabbits will drop the puck on the new relationship as a co-sponsor of Spire Motorsports No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway. As part of the partnership, the Swamp Rabbits, Bon Secours and Spire Motorsports will participate in The Real Heroes Project, honoring healthcare workers through the power of sports.
The Swamp Rabbits livery will adorn the hood, rear quarter panels and tail of the team’s Chevy Camaro while Greenville-based Bon Secours frontline healthcare worker Stacey Anne Wilson’s name will be displayed above the driver’s door.
The Swamp Rabbits are slated to kick off the 2020-21 season at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena October 16 versus the Toledo Walleye.