UW-Platteville has ties to Stanley Cup Final

May 26, 2017
Sydney and Gavin
Gavin Jensen

PLATTEVILLE, Wis – While an average of more than three million people tune in for the Stanley Cup Final, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has two of its very own working behind the scenes at Bridgestone Arena – senior Gavin Jensen and alumna Sydney Joy Bend.

Jensen, a Sterling, Illinois native with a major in media studies and emphasis in audio and visual broadcasting, has been interning with the Nashville Predators since early January. With the Western Conference trophy under their belts, the Predators’ season has stretched to include the Stanley Cup Final, which means that Jensen’s broadcast and entertainment internship has been extended as well.

Last summer, Jensen had the opportunity to tour Bridgestone Arena, courtesy of Bob Kohl, senior director of broadcasting and entertainment for the Predators. Jensen asked about the spring internship opportunity after searching various sports internship websites, and applied both online and personally, in house. Along with the application, he sent a reel of compilations of videos he had done through TV-5 to show experience with camera equipment. After numerous follow up emails and a phone interview, Jensen was offered the position. With the help of his family, friends and professors, Jensen made his way to Nashville.

As a broadcast and entertainment intern, Jensen creates highlight videos, edits audio files for phone lines, shoots players and coaches interviews, records fan reactions and more. Despite previous internships with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, a U.S. Hockey League team, and the Beloit Snappers, a minor league baseball team, Jensen believes that he owes his current success to the UW-Platteville faculty.

“What I think stood out most to my employer was what our media studies program offers, which is an education that pulls from the whole media spectrum: social media, broadcasting, news writing, public relations, photography and web design,” Jensen said. “The sheer flexibility that the program has offered allows me to do whatever job I want that involves media in some particular way. I may be a little biased for a good reason, but I had the honor of studying under the best and most passionate professors in the media studies department.”

Now that the Predators have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, Jensen has the opportunity to help cover history.

“A huge focus that we are covering is the fan support and experience,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to be there for those fans who deserve what they have supported through the last 19 years – through the infancy to the recent success in deep playoff runs.”

Bend, a Shabbona, Illinois native with a media studies major with an emphasis in public relations and minor in journalism, graduated from UW-Platteville in 2016. After taking a part-time position as an ambassador at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Bend accepted a social media internship with Delaware North Sportservice, a contracted foodservice and retail management company that works with the Bridgestone Arena, in Sept. 2016.

“Not only was taking the social media internship a great experience, but it was also my ‘in’ into working for a really great company,” Bend said.

Although her internship turned into a part-time position, Bend decided to take a leap of faith and apply for the nonprofit organization coordinator position with Delaware North. Despite her initial doubts, Bend received the offer and began her full-time position in May.

“My education at UW-Platteville has helped me in so many ways,” Bend said. “The classes I took gave me the groundwork I needed for this position. I was given so much knowledge in such a wide scale. Not only can I work with social media, but I know how to communicate to a variety of people and what it takes to help coordinate a nonprofit organization.”

As the nonprofit organization coordinator for Delaware North, Bend schedules members of nonprofit organizations to volunteer at the Bridgestone Arena during events, concerts and games. Although the volunteers don’t get directly paid, the money raised goes back to the organization they represent. Bend recruits the organization members, files their paperwork and schedules their placements within the arena. Although Bend doesn’t work directly with the Predators, she is a part of the team that helps make sure that Bridgestone is equipped with the volunteers needed to run efficiently.

“This experience is crazy and busy, but it’s also fun,” Bend said. “I put in a lot of hard work, but it really pays off.”

Game one of the Stanley Cup Final will begin Monday, May 29 with the Nashville Predators taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both Jensen and Bend are gearing up for games three, four and six, if needed, as they will be home, at Bridgestone Arena.

Written by: Amanda Bertolozzi, Writer/Editor, Communications, 608-342-7121, bertolozzia@uwplatt.edu


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