By Chris Davidson-Adams
Head Equipment Manager, Vegas Golden Knights
SPHEM: What got you started in the equipment profession and how did you get your start in Professional Hockey?
CD: I started in 1996 as a locker room attendant for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Tim Paris, the Head Equipment Manager at the time, asked my JV hockey coach, who was a security guard at the arena, for some volunteers to fill up water bottles. I was the only one who volunteered. It progressed as I was given more responsibilities and refused to go home. Richard Krouse hired me as an Assistant Equipment Manager in Houston for my first full time job.
SPHEM: You were hired by the Vegas Golden Knights a year before this year?s inaugural season. Where did you begin with planning for this season?
CD: After driving from San Jose to Florida and then Las Vegas with my wife and our puggle, who are always up for an adventure, I started by talking to my mentor in this business, Mike Aldrich. I reached out to him about his ideas and his experiences with the Sharks. I also talked to other Equipment Managers who started teams like Pete Rogers and Tim Leroy. I forecasted who our players and coaches would be for the purpose of ordering equipment and apparel. I compiled as much information as possible in order to predict as many sizes and model items.
SPHEM: What is the biggest challenge of preparing for an expansion team equipment wise?
CD: Preparing for the players and staff you are going to have without knowing who they are going to be. I have never had so many players and staff that wear a size small. As much as you prepare and forecast there will be things that come up that you would have never thought!
SPHEM: What surprised you about preparing for this season?
CD: What surprised me most was the amount of construction work that I had to coordinate. I was taught by Murray Craven, our Executive Vice President, who is in charge of our construction and other projects. Murray has a construction background and has built rinks before our practice and game facility.
SPHEM: What are you looking forward to most this season?
CD: Actual hockey! It was fun planning facilities and at times being a construction foreman, BUT working with actual athletes and managing equipment is what I look forward to.
SPHEM: If you could give any advice to an equipment manager setting up a new team, what would it be?
CD: Pay attention to every little detail! You cannot be too organized. ASK questions and never assume anything in the construction business. Ask fellow Equipment Managers questions on how they did things and what could be done to improve situations. Take pictures, create drawings, and never be afraid to ask questions.S
SPHEM: You?ve worked in the AHL and NHL previously to joining the Golden Knights. What personal characteristic would you say has helped your professional growth in this profession?
CD: Work ethic, organization, professionalism, kindness, and faith.
SPHEM: How has belonging to SPHEM and attending the annual meeting helped you professionally?
CD: Belonging to SPHEM and attending the meetings has helped me to learn more about our industry by giving me the opportunity to network for ideas and how to better manage equipment.
SPHEM: Who have been your mentors over the years and how have they inspired you?
CD: I have learned things from every great person I have worked with, but Mike Aldrich has been my biggest mentor over the years. I can?t say enough remarkable things about him. He has taught me so much about being a professional, managing equipment, and life lessons in general.
Chris and his wife, Kelly, and their dog Sadie love road trips. They enjoy the outdoors, hiking and being around the lake with our family. They look forward to trips to Michigan in the off season.