SPHEM Member Spotlight – Rick Bronwell

Rick Bronwell, Head Equipment Manager, Philadelphia Flyers

SPHEM: What got you started in the equipment profession and how did you get your start in Professional Hockey?

RB: I started when I was 13 in Kansas City with the Blades of the IHL. My dad worked at the arena as concessions manager and he knew the Equipment guy who was Tim LeRoy who is with Columbus now! Funny thing is I was a football guy and I learned the rules through a video game!

SPHEM:  You joined the Philadelphia Flyers as their Head Equipment Manager this season, congratulations!  Even though we are early in the season, can you tell us about the transition from Assistant Equipment Manager in Minnesota to Head Equipment Manager in Philadelphia?

RB: Thank you for the congrats!

The biggest change is all the time you spend with the logistics, budget and phone/email time. It seems that takes up most of your day! The work part is easy…  As George says in Buffalo, It’s all the same gear, just different colors!

SPHEM:  So far, what has surprised you most about the Head Equipment Manager role?   

RB: Not to be redundant but the amout of time you spend figuring out all the logistics and paperwork is crazy. You definitely have to be completely organized. If you aren’t, be prepared to get chewed up and spit out!

SPHEM:  After two very challenging seasons with the pandemic, what are your hopes for this upcoming season?

RB: It’ll be nice to get back to a some kind of “normal”. We all know that this new normal we have isn’t going away and we just have to be flexible and able to roll with the punches as they come.

SPHEM:   You’re a regular at our Conferences each Summer!  After two years of virtual meetings, we are all looking forward to Marco Island, FL.  What are you most looking forward to at this June’s Conference?

RB: The facetime with everyone is priceless in this line of work. Whatever that may be; cooler talk, meetings or talking with reps, you can’t put enough emphasis on the looking into someones eyes when you are talking to them!

SPHEM:  What is one characteristic you feel is important in the role of Equipment Manager at any level of hockey?

RB: We all know how to do the job and the hours required to get the job done. Your presence in and around the rink and office aren’t something that is taken lightly. Treat people with respect and always be you. I’m a HUGE believer in bringing the same attitude each and every day to the rink.

SPHEM:   Even though you don’t often get a lot of time in the cities you travel to, what is one of your favorite hockey cities to visit and why?

RB: Nashville has always been my favorite to travel to. Live music makes me happy!

SPHEM:  Do you have a professional mentor or Equipment Manager you admire?

RB: I am going to take a page out of the old book… My dad has always been the guy who made me who I am.  He always was the person who said, “Just because you don’t know how it works, doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself how it works.” As far as Equipment Managers go, Tim LeRoy, Mike Aldrich, Steve Wissman, John Doolan and especially Tony “Styles” Dacosta! Tony is my personal spirit animal and I will always hold him in the highest regard. I legit LOVE that man!

SPHEM: What advice would you give your younger self if you were just starting in professional hockey?

RB: I would simply say…Dogecoin…..

SPHEM:  What is something other members might not know about you?

RB: The past two years I have changed the way I look at food and have lost 200lbs. And I will ALWAYS welcome anyone who wants to change themselves to share my story with!

Tell us about yourself, your family and your hobbies.

I was born in Chicago Illinois but moved to KC when I was 3. I have two daughters Ashleigh (17) and Addison (15). I love live music and play guitar, although I’m a hack! I’m also a bit of a garage mechanic. Love to fix anything that I can!

All photos courtesy of Rick Bronwell

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