State of the Federal (Address): The First Lady of Federal Hockey

As the Federal Hockey League looks to build a true brand and expand in the coming season, a consistent brand of success, the Danville Dashers, have made a historic front office promotion.

For the first-time in the nine year history of the league, a team has officially named a female General Manager, in Diane Short.

Short is no stranger to the Front Office, being internally promoted from her position as Director of Hockey Operations for the Dashers since 2015. Previous to her time in the FHL, Short worked as the Housing Coordinator of the Danville Wings, and created the North American Hockey League’s first on-ice dance group.

Earlier this year, Short was named the Federal Hockey League’s third-ever recipient of the Founder’s Award, given to a person or group for their outstanding service and commitment to the league.

Executive Assistant to the Commissioner John Landers has highly praised Short for her work with the Danville Dashers.

Hard work and dedication are Diane Short’s middle names… if it needs to get done, Diane will get it done and done right,” said Landers

Her tireless efforts which include very long office hours [and] taking calls at any hour of the day or night to help her team and the league succeed, are unmatched.

In a Hot Sprots Takes exclusive interview, I was able to sit down and chat for Diane’s first interview as the General Manger of Danville.

SHAWN: Carolina Thunderbirds General Manager Scott Brand affectionally coined the nickname for you “Ms. Danville Hockey” in a congratulatory post. How do you believe you represent the Dasher brand?

DIANE: The Dasher organization isn’t just about hockey, the Dashers work hard to give back to the community.

This is something I’ve been passionate about and demonstrated in both my personal and business life.

S: For you personally, to be a sort of catalyst for women General Managers in the FHL, what does it mean to you to be able to give back to this community and continue to break new ground in this league?

D: Through the years, I have had strong women mentors. I hope to inspire others as they did {for} me.

S: What plans do you have for the future of the Dashers?

D: We have already added more benefits for season ticket holders. We will be adding to the fan experience at the games with more entertainment and activities for the fans.

Growing our fan base by reaching fans outside of Danville is something we did last season, and we will continue to do. Getting more involved in the community is also planned.

S: How do you plan to intertwine the team more with the community?

D: Getting into more schools, working with our local [Veterans Affairs], and assisting in local fundraising.

S: You mentioned a focus on growing the overall fan entertainment experience. Especially in minor league sports, promotions prove to be a pivotal way to retain fans and create new ones.

What ideas do you have for entertainment and promotions as a part of a Dasher game day experience?

D: We have the Blackhawks Band perform each year and I’m looking to bring more bands in this season.

There will be more fan interactive games during the media time outs.

SAt this point next year, what do you want your organization to have accomplished in your first season at the helm?

D: Surpass our attendance record and make the Dashers a household name in more communities surrounding the area.

Of course, it goes without saying that we want the Commissioners Cup back in Danville.

S: Why does the Danville community work for the Federal Hockey League?

D: Hockey has been a part of Danville since 1981 when the original Dashers [Continental Hockey League, 1981-1986] were here.

The majority of our fans grew up watching and supporting hockey, and we are able to continue the hockey tradition.

S: Where do you see the state of Danville hockey in five years?

D: I see Danville as being the team that sets the bar for hockey in the league.

The team that players want to play for.

S: As General Manager, do you envision returning Veterans’ Appreciation Night this season to support the troops?

D: Yes, of course. We do a Military Night every year, and will continue to.

Last season the players wore special jerseys, which I must say looked fantastic.

[The Dashers] were able to donate $5000 to our local Veterans Affairs. I’m hoping to match or surpass that amount this season.

As one of the longest standing franchises, and the longest single-location franchise in the Federal Hockey League, professional hockey has found a home at David S. Palmer Arena.

Averaging an FHL second-best attendance of over 1000 fans a game last season appears to be just the start for determined and community-driven new GM Diane Short, one of Danville’s own for many years.

Danville shows the FHL business model is viable to be successful, and with self-made staff like Short running the ship, it will continue to work in Danville, Illinois.


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