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Staff writer Steve Sanders, who covers the Augusta Lynx for The Augusta Chronicle, sat down for an interview with first-year Lynx general manager and co-owner Dan Troutman.
Troutman is president of Alternative Construction & Environmental Solutions, Inc., a local business. Along with Jan and Robert Burch, Troutman - a Lynx season ticket holder since the team moved here in 1998 - purchased the team in April. Troutman took over as general manager this summer.
Q: How long have you been following the Lynx?
A: The very first hockey game I ever saw was the very first Augusta Lynx game in Augusta, Ga.
I had never seen hockey before, and after about two games I realized how much I enjoyed it. I've been a season ticket holder ever since.
Q: How did you get involved in the purchase of the Lynx?
A: Early on (over the winter), one of the previous owners asked me if I had an interest in the team, and we had some conversations. But I just didn't feel we were going to be able to work out a deal.
Some time in March, I was contacted again and asked if I had an interest. ... (Robert, Jan and I) spent about a week-and-a-half trying to figure out what exactly we would be buying, and Robert (Burch) spent some time on the numbers.
We really started negotiating around March 27 and had an agreement in principle in early April, I believe.
Q: How important to the purchase was it to keep coach Bob Ferguson on with the team?
A: As much as was practical. Keeping Bob was unofficially a prerequisite to the purchase.
Q: What is the direction, the goal for you?
A: The biggest compliment we can get is for people to plan their schedule around these hockey games. We want to make them something that everybody wants to see.
We're not foolish enough to believe that everybody's going to come to every game, but we want people to have a fun place to go with the family and a place where they would want to invest their recreational dollars.
Q: What kind of advice did you take in increasing the team's attraction?
A: At the league meetings, I sought out the owners and managers of the teams that are doing well and looked at how they had things set up versus the teams that are not doing so well.
We modeled our overall setup after those teams that are doing better. So we basically copied (laughing).
Q: How and why did you end up general manager?
A: After (Rob Mueller resigned), the decision for me to assume the GM role was made because we were implementing a lot of changes and just getting started.
We thought it would have been almost impossible and unfair to throw someone in there to handle all that in such a short period of time.
Q: How have you handled doing both, being co-owner and GM?
A: It's been interesting wearing two hats because sometimes the GM has to turn around and ask and debate with the ownership, so I sometimes feel like I'm arguing with myself (laughing).
But from the GM's point of view I want to make sure we deliver on the goals of our ownership group in providing quality entertainment and family fun. And if we dan do that and put people in the seats, I'm doing the job that the owners want me to do. ...
I've told anybody who has asked that I don't know that I've ever worked as hard at anything. There are some frustrating moments, but overall I'm having a blast.
It's very, very fun and very exciting and hopefully very rewarding.
Q: What are your expectations for the future of the team?
A: I believe without any doubt that the changes we're putting in place now will allow the Augusta Lynx to continue to improve year to year, as a program as well as in attendance.
In purchasing the Lynx we promised to keep them in Augusta, and that's our goal. We want to get the team into a position where it takes care of itself.
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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