Coralville, Iowa – It’s been about six months since Iowa Heartlanders front office members began to hear rumblings that the team might be sold. The uncertainty of it all became a source of apprehension, specifically to the four front office members that have been with the team since the opening game in team history - Vice President Jordan Cue, Director of Tickets & Sponsorship Services Molly Uphoff, Game Operations Director Jarrett Mescher and Director of Communications David Fine.Yet amidst the trepidation, these front office members now find themselves feeling renewed energy and a strengthened bond to “be a Heartlander” as the team prepares to host its home opener on Friday, October 20 vs. Rapid City.“I heard about as early as February that the team might be sold,” Uphoff said. “I was a little nervous, we all were. If it doesn’t go through and something happens you start wondering about your future. It might be time to move on to another team or find another opportunity in Iowa City.”The sale to Heartlanders Hockey LLC, a group owned by Michael Devlin, was finalized in July. With the new ownership in place, the club has seen positive changes that will transform the Heartlanders and lead to the team’s continued growth in the community. But beyond that, it’s apparent the front office members have formed a unique bond and energy.“One of the reasons I stayed is the staff we have here and the people we get to meet and work with,” Uphoff said. “I love working with this group. I think we did a really great job moving forward and planning with what we had, but also taking care of each other, staying positive and being a resource to each other.”To stay together amidst the uncertainty, the four front office members started meetings by either telling “a story or a joke” to keep the mood upbeat. Additionally, Wednesday afternoons in early July were “Treat Wednesdays” where the front office made a 30-minute run to either Dairy Queen, Scratch Cupcakes and Cookies & Dreams to make sure the day ended on a strong note.“We all love working together but I think there’s also a chip on our shoulders, too,” Mescher said. “We’ve had some obstacles get in our way, but we’ve put in too much work and effort into this that I didn’t feel it would be fair to walk away. I want to be the one that’s a part of this change to see where it can go. We feel that renewed power with Michael’s leadership.”
Mapping the transitionThe transition under Devlin included devising a competitive and entertaining promotional calendar, working with the team’s partners to create enthusiasm for games, and the continued hiring of new full-time staff members, including President Matt Getz. In particular, Getz’ energy and creativity has been palpable.“Truthfully, there’s a lot left to get done once you get past Labor Day, but we have that good nervous energy,” Mescher said. “Matt is a proven winner in this town. Some people I know can’t stop saying good things about Matt and what he’s been able to do for athletics in this community in his past. Matt and Michael each know the market and want hockey to be a success here.”
Uphoff added the pride that accompanies being a Heartlander goes beyond ownership and the front office.“I love it here and want to stay here and I think more than anything that’s why our front office wants to work hard for our fans. I feel like I’m at home here even though I grew up a few hours away in Illinois. When I talk with family I used to say ‘I made it back’, now I say ‘I made it home.’ This area has so many fun things to do, great places to walk, it’s safe and there are a ton of events every week.”With the Heartlanders just over a month away from starting their third ECHL season, both Mescher and Uphoff feel like the hard work being put in now will make for a successful campaign.“A year from now, I will be proud of what we have done,” Uphoff continued. “We have big goals for this season even though this offseason has been unique. The staff we have here knows what we have to do and we now have a great foundation with resources. We are going to look back and say ‘wow.’ We’re looking forward to a great third season.”Iowa opens the 2023-24 season vs. the Rapid City Rush on Fri., Oct. 20 at 6:35 p.m. Single-game tickets to the Home Opener are now available. Season ticket memberships, mini-plans, partial plans and group tickets are available for the 2023-24 season by visiting iowaheartlanders.com/tickets and by calling 319-569-4625.Under the direction of Heartlanders Hockey LLC and the new ownership of the team led by Michael Devlin, the Heartlanders are looking forward to a successful 2023-24 season and expanding the team’ reach in eastern Iowa. To learn more about corporate partnership opportunities with the club and join the Heartlanders family, please call 319-569-4625.