New GM steps up at Comcast Arena
Comeau, hired as assistant general manager in July, had to tackle the tasks of the top job when the previous general manager, Jeff Schumacher, abruptly resigned in October after only nine months in the position.
"I just basically stepped up to do what needed to be done," said Comeau, 43. "I didn't necessarily need that title, I just knew what needed to be done."
The general manager duties are many, including overseeing booking, finances, events, the box office, marketing, client relations and corporate sales -- for the arena, the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center and the Comcast Community Ice Rink.
"I have good staff working with me, that's the only way you can do it," Comeau said.
Global Spectrum, which manages the arena for the Everett Public Facilities District, conducted a search for a new general manger, said Tammi Bryant Olson, a marketing director for the company. They stuck with Comeau.
The company's CEO, John Page, praised Comeau's leadership skills in a written statement announcing the promotion.
"Rick is the ideal candidate to lead our team in continuing to provide extraordinary fan and client experiences, and creating successful events for Comcast Arena at Everett," Page said.
Comeau, a native of Lake Cowichan, B.C., on Vancouver Island, began his events career in 1994 in a support position with the Prince George Cougars hockey team. He worked his way up into management at the arena there and in 2008 was hired by Global Spectrum to be the operations manager at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C. Within two years, Comeau was promoted to director of operations.
That facility has three ice rinks and a 60,000-square-foot conference center. Like Comcast Arena, the building draws a variety of events, including concerts, which provided Comeau with good experience for the job here, he said.
So far, the Comcast Arena has done well during Comeau's time in Everett, according to Global Spectrum. The Silvertips hockey team is in second place in its division and the arena has seen record attendance for annual events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the Everett Fall Home Show and EnduroCross, according to the company.
Comeau said 55,000 people came through arena turnstiles in October and 70,000 in November, which were significant increases over the same months the past couple of years, he said.
"We had the best Disney on Ice show," in terms of attendance, "since the building opened," he said.
Comeau said he hopes to attract a greater range of events while keeping the concerts and annual events coming.
A rodeo event, complete with bull riding, is coming next May, and Comeau said he's working on bringing in a mixed-martial-arts show.
"I'd like to broaden our scope to try and get something for everybody," Comeau said.
It's that variety that he enjoys about his career, he said.
"It's not your typical job where you're doing the same thing day to day -- there's always something changing, always something new happening," Comeau said.
He lives in Lake Stevens with his wife, Carla, and a son, Nolan, 7, who is registered in the Everett Youth Hockey League.
"We're Canadian, so we like hockey," Comeau said.
Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson issued a written comment on Comeau's hire.
"Comcast is a world-class venue and deserves strong leadership to bring quality shows and conferences to Everett. I look forward to seeing what new ideas Rick has for this great community asset," the mayor said.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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